Ashley Solomon: Three Musical Friends Play

Saturday 12th June 2021 via Zoom

Ashley Solomon and Friends rehearsing

A week ago, if you asked me to rate my favourite music I would have ranked classical music below folk and grunge. I think I felt it was too snooty and highbrow for me!

Yet I am a fierce advocate that art is for all, and in keeping an open mind about things: all the features that Arts Destination South Molton promotes.

So, with this in mind, I booked a ticket for Ashley Solomon’s concert on Saturday night. I know South Molton’s Jo Preston and Tom Bayliss  a little – and  thought it was an absolutely brilliant idea to invite them to play with an internationally acclaimed musician.

I thought I could listen to the music whilst I made supper or pottered around at home. As it turned out I was glued to the screen throughout the performance.

The setting in the Roundhouse was beautiful, welcoming and comfortable. It was clear the three musicians had very quickly developed a lovely rapport with each other  – and were having a ball!

We were treated to a very well thought out musical adventure, beginning with Henry Purcell moving to Handel & Bach. All very accessible pieces of work played expertly on a range of recorders, flutes and piano. We were also introduced to less well known but extraordinary pieces by Jacob Van Eyck & William Williams.

The chat was lively and informative; Ashley gracious and generous; Jo & Tom absolutely held their own  – and did South Molton proud. The audience called for an encore.

It was during the Rachmaninoff piece I had an epiphany. The reason I have been shying away from classical music is because it really stirs the emotions.

Music from my younger years that gets me jumping about is easy, it makes me feel carefree and happy. Classical music unlocks feelings of stored up melancholy in me which can be quite overwhelming.

I realised listening to the haunting music that I was flooded with memories of my father who died unexpectedly when I was seven. He played a lot of classical music – it must have eked into my being, as the music was familiar and I felt close to him again. I know next time I hear classical music I won’t be quite as intimidated –  and it may even overtake rock music in my order of preference!

Thank you all involved in bringing this truly special event to our screens.

Jane Petch
Deep Roots Festival organiser