For very many years now, we have been represented annually on Mark Venn's stand at the Greenwich International Festival of Early Music at Trinity College of Music on the site of the old Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
And we at Mozart Music Software like to be on hand to help - mainly because it is such fun and a good opportunity to meet up with Mark and lots of other old friends from the early music fraternity.
The event follows a similar format every year. Some exhibitors come and go; different members of Mark's family may be on hand; some visitors return year in year out; but there are also many new ones each year. Sometimes experienced Mozartists who live, or just happen to be, in the London area drop in to say hello, and it is great to be able to put faces to names we talk to on the internet.
The story below is of the Early Music Festival of 11-13 November 2005 but we make no apology for not updating it (much) because it could have been any year with just a few twists in the story, and that year we seem to have found time to take a few photographs! So here we go - it's 2005:
Once again it was a real pleasure spending the weekend there with Mark, son Tom, and daughter Susie, all complete experts in Mozart, and meeting old friends including some of the Mozartists who contribute regularly on the discussion group.
Equally enjoyable was introducing new people to the delights of Mozart. Over the weekend one or two more young musicians have acquired a useful tool to help them with their GCSE music course, and one or two more experienced musicians have now plumped for Mozart too.
This year, thanks to the wonderful response to my request on the mailing list for early music examples, I was well equipped with "on-topic" examples, both in my folder of print-outs and as mz files to bring up on screen. When a young cellist came to have a look, I just happened to have a beautifully formatted transcription of one of J S Bach's pieces for solo cello to show off. And when recorder enthusiasts turned up, I had plenty of early consorts to demonstrate, and for the vocal choir enthusiasts, lots of examples with words. Something for everyone.
But while I just tended to natter with visitors to the stand, the real work was being accomplished by Tom and Susie Venn, who demonstrated the program with consummate expertise. Susie's technique is to transcribe a complicated piece into Mozart in quiet moments, attracting people curious to see what she's doing. In the picture you'll see that movement has rendered her right hand a complete blur: I tell people that Mozart is the fastest music notation package to use, while she proves it, apparently effortlessly.
Recently on the Mozart discussion group, there have been quite a few recommendations to visit the Dolmetsch site for the answers to tricky theory questions. The Dolmetsch recorders stand was right next to us, and so I was able to thank the Dolmetsch director, Brian Blood, in person for providing such a useful resource. Brian has quite a sense of humour and I found myself on the wrong end of "witty" comments about saxophones more than once. (I tried to get my own back by playing blues riffs on one of his recorders, but it didn't faze him in the slightest.) But I'll still recommend his site for theory questions, despite his professed views (I can't repeat them) on the most wonderful of woodwind instruments :-)
Susie and Mark Venn demonstrate Mozart to a visitor to the stand. Mark's hand-crafted crumhorns, cornamusen, and instrument stands can be seen in the foreground of the photo on the left.
David Webber, author of Mozart, in a quiet moment.
And to emphasise that we
really are regulars at this show,
here we are in a later year, with David Webber (standing) discussing Mozart with
Eric Moulder - renowned maker of early woodwinds and long-time Mozartist. Margaret's attention
seems to have been caught by the string instrument cases on the neighbouring stand
- I don't think she owns a viol?.
Photo: Mark Venn (whose instruments are again to be seen in the foreground).