We caught up with violinist Thomas Gould ahead of ‘Pastoral’ at Warwick Hall, on Thursday March 17th, where he will be directing and performing from the violin with The Swans.
“We’re really looking forward to you performing with us next month at Warwick Hall. Can you tell us what attracted you to the programme?”
aching cello to took part anyway though and everyone had a brilliant, fun time playing the instruments the Birmingham Music Hub had lent the students for this project.
“I’ve admired David Le Page’s programming for Orchestra of the Swan from afar for quite a while, and I particularly loved the programme recorded on the Timelapse album. Putting The Lark Ascending alongside Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) seems so obvious but in fact it will be the first time I’ve done both in the same programme. And I’m looking forward to playing the Adés for the first time, having always loved listening to it.”
“One of the key pieces in ‘Pastoral’ is ‘The Lark Ascending’. Can you tell us about your relationship with Vaughan Williams’s popular piece?”
“The Lark Ascending must be the most frequently performed piece in my repertoire. I’ve also recorded it with Sinfonietta Riga in 2015. It’s one of very few classical pieces that allows the performer total freedom at times, and it’s hugely rewarding to perform because of that.”
“Why do you think ‘The Lark Ascending’ is as popular as it is?”
“I think it’s popular because it’s compositionally so arresting and unusual – with its extended improvisatory solo sections and its honest and sincere beauty. It’s not a show-off piece at all.”
“Is there anything else you are particularly looking forward to performing in this concert?”
“I love any opportunity to play the Bartók Romanian Folk Dances – they are always such a favourite with players and audience.”
“The Swan’s new partnership with Warwick Independent Schools Foundation provides access for talented children to attend the Foundation’s outstanding musical facilities, ensuring that young people throughout society have the opportunity to discover and experience the joys of music, regardless of what school they are from in the region. Can you tell us about your first interaction with the violin and the role your school played to encourage your future career.”
“I started playing violin aged 3 years old and was lucky to always go to schools which had strong music departments alongside Junior Academy at RAM on Saturdays. Having an older sister in the profession was really helpful to me when I was making the transition from student to professional life.”