EEMF - Voices and Viols

Burrell’s Field, Trinity College, Cambridge, Saturday 15 June 2013

At the close of a demanding morning of violing and voicing to music by Byrd and Tomkins, we found a pleasant place by the pond to consume our sandwiches and others came and sat beside us, lining up on the step like swallows on a wire.

A pleasant place by the pond

Nature came too, a Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) to beg for crumbs and a Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) to bask in the sun.

MallardLarge Red Damselfly

After a bit, more wildlife appeared. A Water Strider (Gerris sp.) and a Wolf Spider (Pirata sp.) seemed unconcerned at the presence of two pairs of Azure Damselflies (Coenagrion puella) clamped together in their mating ritual. The male does not need his legs while they rest but stands like a tower crane with his claspers round the neck of the female.

A Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) came to fish for Trinity College goldfish but but left when it found there was company.

Azure Damselfly, Wolf Spider and Water StriderGrey Heron

The female damselfy carefully chose a stem to lay her egg just below the water surface, which was wasted effort because the duck ate the lot.

Azure Damselfly laying an eggThe duck ate it

So, having eaten our lunch, we went back to bend our minds and hands and voices to Tomkins and to Gibbons. Thanks to Bill Hunt for beautiful music, able direction and compelling insight into the historical context. Thanks also to Ellen who brought us all together for a very pleasant day.

Text and photographs by Robin Rigby