Spiritato - Guts & Glory - York Early Music Winter Festival

Spiritato’s final 2016 performance of their ‘Guts & Glory’ programme opened the York Early Music Winter Festival on Thursday 8th of December 2016 at St. Margaret’s Church in York - home of the National Centre for Early Music (NCEM). The ensemble was led by the wonderful violinist Kinga Ujszaszi.
The concert in York had been preceded by an intensive rehearsal week and discussion event earlier in the year, back in April 2016. The first performance of this programme then took place at St. John’s Smith Square in London on the 15th April 2016, with further performances at St. George’s in Bristol on the 9th November 2016, and as part of the Brighton Early Music Festival on the 11th November 2016.

Spiritato put on another excellent performance of this programme in York and suitably impressed the packed-out audience at the NCEM. Performing this demanding programme at this busy time of year was quite an achievement because many of the members of Spiritato had seamlessly adapted to the various different techniques (ventless trumpets, all-gut strings and different bow-holds) in and amongst all of the other more conventional period-instrument performances going on that week.

There were many favourable comments from the audience after the concert and it was a thrill to see several well-known early musicians present. Even on this brief visit, I still left York feeling full of its charm and with a desire to stay for longer!

The York Press wrote a review of what it described as 'a splendid concert by Spiritato!’, saying that 'The sound was extraordinary, a unique authenticity; the trumpets were ‘natural’, they had no valves or finger holes and the string players had instruments which used strings made entirely from gut.’ Their review of the concert is well-worth a read.

Spiritato has recently released the documentary about the Guts & Glory project, with interviews from various players in the group, including myself (at 11 minutes 20 seconds). I'm sure this won't be the end of the Guts & Glory story, and it has really been (in my own words from the video) 'great work to start' - exploring other paths and playing this repertoire in this way.

Russell Gilmour
Russell Gilmour Blog
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