With the Tryst now only a month away, we caught up with the wonderful early music choir Cappella Nova for a quick insight into what they have in store.
Why do you think Capella Nova is so successful?
We started out as Scotland’s first professional vocal group dedicated to early music, particularly medieval and renaissance Scottish treasures that hadn’t been heard for hundreds of years. That’s our USP, but we’ve also become obsessed with new music and have commissioned and/or premiered more than 100 new works – including some now very famous ones like James MacMillan’s ‘Seven Last Words from the Cross’. Audiences relate to voices singing new (or very old) music in a really immediate way. It’s our CDs that have made the greatest impact and I’m glad to say that we’ll be recording our fourth CD dedicated to music by James MacMillan immediately after the Tryst.
What can audiences expect from your appearance at this year’s Tryst?
Both of our ‘sides’ are featured in this year’s Tryst and we’re really honoured to be giving the world premiere of two marvellous works by Michael Murray. We’re also thrilled to be working with Mr McFall’s Chamber – although we’ve shared the stage with most of Scotland’s leading instrumental ensembles this is an exciting first for us. In our unaccompanied programme ‘Majesty’ we’re including some absolute favourite Scottish masterpieces from the 16th century, including glorious music by Robert Carver, and we hope that audiences will be delighted to hear how much fabulous creativity was going on in Scotland just before and after the Reformation.
Why do you think festivals like The Cumnock Tryst are important?
The main thing is the way they bring music so often only accessible to people in big cities and so-called cultural centres out into the wider world. There’s a great buzz about a festival like the Tryst – local people can take ownership of it and have opportunities to experience unusual and mind-expanding events without the hassle of travel. We love the community strand in the Tryst and are looking forward enormously to leading a workshop open to all, this really chimes with our own philosophy. Festivals like this bring a sense of pride and involvement to a community and also give a great boost to performers who feel that the whole things is so much less ‘anonymous’ than performing in big cities.