Bristol is one of a choice few places from my UK-wide travels which is looking better than when I last saw it. Spending a couple of days in its renewed centre was a sparkling experience even in grey stormy weather, and quite Parisian in places along the quays of the Avon. A decade ago I remember it being named as a national cycling city, although I’d say there is still progress to be made here, with quite a bit of scary motorised traffic tearing unexpectedly out of peaceful-looking junctions.
I will also remember Bristol as the place where I first had a studio recording (thank you once again, Delphian Records) with a large choir – well over 100 courageous members of Bristol Choral Society joined by a section of Music Makers of London, under their remarkable conductor Hilary Campbell. On the whole, choral music in the studio is recorded by small choirs and vocal consorts. It’s been entirely my experience in the past that the big pieces get captured in a live performance, and slightly doctored later, if you’re lucky.
So, eight hours in front of the microphones was an unusual experience, and I couldn’t have more admiration for the massed BCS/Music Makers, uncomplainingly standing onstage for eight hours, performing take after take (on the third day in a row – having previously recorded works by Chilcott and Cecilia McDowall.) St George’s Brandon Hill provided a calming, comfortable venue for our dicey endeavours.