My group – Horns Aloud - recently performed in a concert of the project “How to shout and blow horns” with ex-pat Martin Mayes hosted by the “Sounds of the Dolomites” festival (I Suoni delle Dolomiti), and annual summer event hosted by Trentino Marketing aimed at creating a series of experiences binding music, hiking and the outdoor environment. The festival has been run for 20 years and brings musicians from all over the world to perform along with the many local choirs that represent a strong and unique musical heritage from the area.
- View of the lake from up where we were playing
Our concert was scheduled for 2pm, and was at an altitude of 2160m, near to the beautiful lake Lagusel. This little gem has a “rifugio” (alpine refuge) nearby, run by an English lady with her Italian husband, beautiful views and is surrounded by wonderful walking country.
From our overnight base in the village of Pozza di Fassa (see walk 30 in Shorter Walks in the Dolomites. From here, our venue was 5km away in total, on a route along the valley parallel to the final section of the ridge-walk in the Cicerone guide), we were taken by jeep up to a car-park in the Val San Nicolo.
There was a 420m climb ahead, along which many of the audience had already started in organised groups with guides. We ascended through alpine pine forest, full of small flowers, and along a well-maintained path. The direction from the valley path up to Lagusel was signposted well on a large rock. Although the temperatures down in the main Adige valley had been sweltering at 32°, up here in the Dolomites proper, walking conditions were much more favourable, with broken cloud and only gentle breezes.
- View over the Val san Nicolo
After an hour’s walk, which could easily have been taken at a brisker pace (I’m no regular walker, and our colleague was taking on the path as a challenge to aid him in his fight against weight gained since giving up rugby to play the horn better), we spied the wooden roofs of two more refuges, one the home of a local Ladin-speaker and his family, clad for the day in Lederhosen.
We were provided with hot tea and later proper alpine food, while taking to a roving National Geographic reporter from Bavaria. Sausage, grilled cheese, pork roast, polenta, sauerkraut and caramelised wild mushrooms despatched, we were ready for the concert itself.
- Playing the Alphorn
We played horns and alphorns for an hour and more, the slight (and unseasonal) showers that passed through little hindrance to us Brits, and no deterrent to our listeners. The audience were warm and appreciative, and drawn from every age, with participants aged roughly 5-75 taking turns to blow a few tones on our wonderful carbon-fibre instruments.
With the festive music-making complete, Horns Aloud, Martin Mayes (our ex-pat colleague), the festival staff and audience relaxed in the peaceful atmosphere, as the bells of the cows attracted to the nearby pasture by our alphorns rattled cheerily. After some obligatory 18-month aged grappa and publicity pics, we rambled back down the neat path, easily avoiding the forecast evening storms so typical of alpine summers.
The facebook page of the performers, with more pictures from the day.
More about the area which hosted the event. Lagusel is in a side-valley of the Val di Fassa, a beautiful valley of German and Ladin speaking villages just north-east of Trento.