Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Sainsbury Centre

The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, designed by Norman Foster, is a wonderful building and one of my favourite 'unusual venues'. I love the height, the light, the best hot chocolate in Norwich and of course the art collection it was built to house. On the first Sunday of every month there are free activities for the children, free newspapers for the adults and free music for all. This month the music was provided by Eastern Straynotes, a trio in which I play clarinet. We do klezmer and jazz and the mix seems to go down well with old and young. We are still settling in new girl Sandra on double bass and were pleased with how well it went.

It's not an easy place to play. The sound gets lost in the hangar-like space. Not only that but the audience can feel dwarfed by the enormity of the setting and takes some warming up. However, we did extract a fair amount of applause and foot-tapping. And there were plenty of dancing children for whom we must be just another strange phenomenon in a building that's full of them. A lot of people left when we stopped playing and I like to think it was the music keeping them there.

We were very fortunate that a musician friend, Tom, who does live sound from time to time, turned up and could give us some pointers on the mix. I made a point of photographing the mixer settings at the end for when we next play there in July. I find myself wondering what the weather will be like then. We had warmth and sunshine last weekend and in the break I wandered out onto the grass to look at the lake and the University of East Anglia's famous ziggurats.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This sounds like a fascinating venue - I have never been there but it could be an ideal place for a lazy Sunday.

    I'm listening to "You're The Cream In My Coffee" on your Eastern Straynotes site. Sounds great! You could link there directly from here, if you wanted, then readers could find you directly instead of searching in Google.

  3. Thank you for that suggestion. It's done. And yes, it's a great place any day of the week. A healthy walk in the woods, by the river or around the lake and then some art and self-indulgence in the cafe. It's a hard life...