Lockdown chats: Alexandra Wood talks to Lynda Houghton

Posted on: June 30, 2020 in: Programmes>2019-20 Season, Comment & Media

Written by Alexandra Wood

We are, luckily, starting to slowly emerge from the various restrictions of lockdown. That being said, it is still so lovely to connect with friends and colleagues from the CLS family, as it may be a little while longer before we will all be able to perform together again.

I caught up with our fabulous Principal Double Bass Lynda Houghton, who has given us a little glimpse into her current world.

“Compared to many, I’m fortunate in having good companionship (a husband and an elder son) for long daily walks,” says Lynda. “Usually around five miles a day to parks and ancient woodland, all from our front door. So along with that and our modest but interesting garden, my passion for the natural world and observing it at close quarters has had extraordinary focus.

“Then, of course, having the daily opportunity to practise the double bass slowly and more analytically is a rare thing, but my greatest pleasure has been working through both books of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier and all the Beethoven piano sonatas. That’s the joy of also being a pianist and to have such repertoire – the bass solo repertoire does not have the same allure, funnily enough! Bach and Beethoven (and others) have kept me sane, grounded, inspired and connected and I can’t imagine life without playing the piano – strictly for my household’s consumption.

“George (my son) and I love cooking, and Michael (my husband) has made three fabulous curries – so, again, we’re lucky having our fabulous weekly deliveries of Riverford veg and have eaten like kings. I think all three of us are quite good at being in the moment and dealing with change. We are all avid readers. I’m presently reading Catherine Belton’s Putins People, which has just been published and deserves all the rave reviews it’s got – highly recommended if you’re interested in Russia. Other books that have stood out are the W.G. Hoskins classic The Making of the English Landscape (published in 1955), Tove Ditlevsen’s autobiographical Copenhagen Trilogy – he’s a little known Danish poet and author born in relative poverty in 1917, with wonderful writing; concise and a bit dark – and Tove Jansson’s Summer Book is a joy. I’d better stop this book list or you’ll be fast asleep.

“Screens in general are not so much my thing, so although there has been a lot of online content available from orchestras, ensembles, theatre companies and art galleries, I mainly listen to BBC Radio 3 and 4, and World Service. And I watch the Channel 4 news for the best coverage. However, L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France’s early video of a version of Chaplin’s Smile was a real standout of online content – state money and great imagination combined!

“What a time for reflection and gathering. There are so many ripples to one’s every strand of thought amidst so much sadness and inevitable cynicism of the woeful government response and lies (I have relatives in the NHS who knew what was really happening). But it is so important to keep positive and forward-looking. Our lives as collaborative musicians will never be taken for granted again and I do see opportunity for different ways of connecting and performing in more local, meaningful relationships, such as little used churches, halls and open spaces. Playing together with a live audience—I can’t wait for that wonderful community to get together again!”

Lockdown chats

You can watch more Lockdown chats with Alexandra Wood on YouTube and Facebook, or listen to them as podcasts on major podcast providers such as SoundCloudApple Podcastsacast and Spotify.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PL3cWGwOSspbTu4HBog2hpkV8f-tHPZoa8&w=560&h=315]

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