In March of this year – like thousands of other freelance musicians around the country – classical cellist Andy Wardale, based in Richmond, found himself unable to perform due to Covid restrictions, with no indication as to when the performing arts industries would be able to open up again.
Overnight, virtually all of his scheduled performances for the foreseeable future had been lost or postponed.
Determined to keep motivated and artistically challenged, Andy and his 18-year-old son Stefan, who is now in his first year at Leeds Conservatoire studying for a degree in Popular Music, embarked upon a series of recordings that would showcase their work as the performing duo Urban Birdsong.
This culminated in the recording – Hymnus for 12 Cellos by Julian Klengel, which took two solid days of recording and that normally requires 12 cellists, but with Andy playing each of the individual parts.
Andy said: “Instead of our usual appearances at weddings, events and festivals, we knuckled down in the living room and worked on a number of duo pieces that would demonstrate our extensive range and repertoire.
“It seemed like the obvious choice and a ‘virtual hug’ if you like, for my cello friends whom I hadn’t seen for so long.”