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Firstly, I would like to bid welcome to my new followers.  I have gathered some traffic over the past few days, and you are most welcome – I hope that you enjoy what you find here.  Secondly, there have been smatterings of press here and there about Why Should We Not Sing?, including a mention in the Daily Telegraph and, much more importantly, this wonderful article by the BBC’s Parliamentary correspondent for Wales, David Cornock, who mentions the piece.

The snow came down all day yesterday, which was not good news for me, as I have been struggling to shake off a nasty cold all week and needed to be out in town playing and teaching.  Today’s work was cancelled, however, so I managed some work on my next piece, which will most likely be called The Serried Firmament, but am also taking things easy in an attempt to shift the hanging illness.  I have dutifully trudged outside today and am thus fully stocked with the necessaries – tablets, linctus and a bottle each of red and white, not to be taken all at once, of course.

The problem with the next piece at the moment is that I cannot really set sail until I have a text together and approved, but I think that there is enough for me to get started, and am really looking forward to giving free rein to my imagination.  I have been just a touch conservative in my technical writing for instruments for a while, of necessity given timescales and the like, but have rarely been wide of the target in how I write.  After the success of Why Should We Not Sing?, which ran and balanced well, I think I have the confidence to take a leap forwards, so here goes.

The piece is going to deal with death, stars and the night, so I would like to create some kind of ethereal sound world which will be strange but familiar.  In other words, the music is still going to be in my style, but maybe the techniques by which that music is communicated will change a little.  It should be fun, and in my bones I think that it might just together quickly and easily.  Here’s hoping.

As a result of having spent a goodly proportion of the past few days in front of the computer I am also feeling slightly organised at the moment, so am optimistic of having the time to get some quality writing done this week.  The busy nature of the build up to Christmas means that rhythms change in the quiet of the new year, and it takes a little time to adapt, but I need to grasp the chance to get ahead now, before the year cranks into gear.

The journey through my CD collection has already weeded out some discs I am never going to listen to again, the performances at fault rather than the music.  Most sadly I shall be bidding goodbye to a disc by one of my favourite pianists, Dinu Lipatti.  His playing is something quite spectacular, utterly beautiful, and his recordings surely some of the greatest bargains out there, including that transcendent last recital from Besancon.  This particular CD, however, is transferred from dodgy live performances and the sound leaves quite a lot to be desired, to say nothing of the errant orchestral playing in Bartok 3.  It feels like a sin to eject any Lipatti from the shelf, but, praise be, there is enough he recorded in his 33 short years to keep his legacy alive.

In some parallel universe Lipatti lived into his eighties and recorded the core repertoire several times, getting better and better with age.  As it is his output is small and select, but there is barely a note out of place and it sounds fresh and alive, not too shabby for recordings made over sixty years ago.

Dinu Lipatti, beautiful, crystalline playing.  Those whom the gods love and all that.

Dinu Lipatti, beautiful, crystalline playing. Those whom the gods love and all that.