All is quiet on the Western front. I pulled an eleven hour day on Sunday, not only directing the music at three church services, but also performing Bach’s fantastic but difficult Wedge Prelude and Fugue, completing the orchestration of The Human Seasons, and getting the number of emails necessitating a reply down a lovely round zero. Undoubtedly the week ahead will see more messages and one or two minor emergencies, but there is little more that I can do at this stage to get any further ahead. With a bit of luck, however, I will be able to spend some decent time this week on This Light Of Reason, the piece in memory of Jo Cox, for that is a work I would like to get up and running as soon as possible so that I can get it honed and sent out to interested parties. There is also another Christmas arrangement to get done, but that can be secondary for the time being. My grandfather in Italy had this poster on the wall of his workshop, and it is how I feel right now – in fact, I think of this image often.
On Saturday I spent a very pleasant day in the company of the London University Church Choir, running a Study Day on the music of Tallis, Byrd and Gibbons. As usual I ended up learning a huge amount myself, not least that I admire the music of Gibbons more and more with each passing year. His writing positively fizzes with invention, is effervescent in its skill, and also gives me little moments of joy every time I hear it. He is overshadowed by his illustrious predecessors, but we need to remember that he died at half their age. The standard of the work he was producing while still relatively young is really quite astounding, and not for nothing did Glenn Gould cite him as his favourite composer.
At the day I also bumped into one of my former students, now also a composer herself and clearly making headway into the profession (must have been taught well, eh?), which was a delight, and, as is often the case, I bored people senseless with tales of life out West, how much better it is that those dark days in Mitcham.
So into the week we go after a funny old month. I am aiming for Tuesday night, when I shall be back in Somerset, of course, but also as glad as ever to be involved in a profession I love. It is too easy to lose sight of that from time to time, so it bears repeating – music is consolation for life.