Earlier this week I gave a lunchtime recital at the Chapel Royal Brighton, alongside my pianist duo partner Jen Hughes. Our programme was full of French repertoire, including works by Claude Debussy, Philippe Gaubert, Maurice Emmanuel and Jacques Ibert.
I have actually performed at the Chapel Royal before, four years ago, and I remembered its wonderful acoustic from then. I decided that it was the perfect setting to debut my new flugelhorn in both Debussy's 'Rapsodie' and 'She' by Charles Aznavour. I presented our programme by speaking in between each piece - both to inform the audience about the music and to give myself a few tactical breaks..! Engaging with our audience in this way is important to me and it's one of the things I enjoy most about giving a recital.
I still get quite nervous when preparing and performing a recital as, like most brass players, I am often concerned with stamina and am just hoping that it will all go to plan... but it's a great feeling to perform a recital outside of music college or a competition, where there is no final mark at the end of it! It's both liberating and fun to play music that you've chosen because you love it, and I find that the audience always responds well to that.
Jen and I were pleased to perform to a full audience, many of whom we had a chance to meet afterwards. One audience member was actually a local critic, and we were delighted to receive his review of the concert: "...Hancock's in a class of her own; Hughes - an incisive soloist herself - gives virtuosic support..." (Simon Jenner).