As everything shut down in March, managing show cancelations was overwhelming and it seemed clear that we were all on quite a long hiatus from live performances. I threw myself into moving all of my teaching online, making support materials and getting a home “recording studio” setup. As the weeks passed I was able to start listening and playing music unrelated to my teaching. My Capella Borealis colleague Nathan Wilkes has been sending out highlights of his home listening since our quartet has been apart — I particularly enjoyed Emilio De’Cavalieri’s Lamentationes et Responsoria recorded by the Gesualdo Consort. This recording was both new to me and so incredibly moving and beautiful that I’ve gone back to listen many times.
A COVID silver lining for me has been seeking out more music over social media. I’ve taken in more concerts on Facebook and Instagram in the last ten weeks than I was able to attend all of last year! I’ve found great joy especially through Jacob Collier’s Instagram channel. Whether he’s singing, playing piano, u-bass or talking about theory he’s filled with such joy and excitement that it’s infectious.
For my musical offering, I couldn’t resist this spirited ode to the cricket, El Grillo. The sackbut isn’t really a solitary instrument and truly, I think trombonists aren’t typically solitary individuals so I played this as a quartet—with the instruments in my home, alto sackbut (thanks to EMV) and tenor trombone.
With immense thanks to Ray Nurse who sent me a collection of El Grillo arrangements years ago, over multiple emails—first as a trio (as I’d requested), then, playfully a duo, and finally a solo, over the course of an evening. He titled the solo The Last Grillo, with sincerest apologies to Josquin des Prez.