Recently, a group of students from the Department of Music and Sound Recording paid a visit to the Cobbe Collection of historic keyboard instruments housed at Hatchlands. This renowned collection boasts Europe’s largest number of keyboard instruments associated with famous composers including JC Bach, Chopin, Elgar, Mahler and Bizet.
Establishing a link between Hatchlands and the University has been in the planning for a while, and it was made possible due to the perseverance of Associate Tutor Dr. Maureen Bonello, who together with Alison Hoskyns, organised the visit. Margaret Roberts (Associate Tutor) and Dr. Georgia Volioti (Lecturer in Musicology) were also in attendance.
The students, mostly taking the piano performance module, were shown around and could see and hear these wonderful historic keyboard instruments, some for the first time. In addition, they were given the opportunity to perform pieces on some of the instruments. It was altogether a very fruitful and rewarding occasion, which we hope to make into an annual event.
To hear the delicate keys of a seventeenth-century Rucker harpsichord dance to the rhythms of a Rameau gigue, or to be immersed in the wonderful harmonies of a Chopin waltz in the eighteenth-century ambience of the drawing room was a truly rewarding experience. We anticipate that more music students will have the opportunity to participate and benefit in the future from such educational trips, the wider implications of which spill over to enriching the curriculum of modules in instrumental performance and historical performance practice.