The times, they are a-changing, gravelled Bob Dylan all those years ago, and it remains true as the times they go a-rolling by. I spent a rather large proportion of the time on Friday stuck in traffic on various of our nation’s choked motorways as I drove up to Yorkshire (beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!) to play for a concert given by Cantores Salicium and conducted by my colleague and friend Lindy Williams. A few years back Lindy rather caught me by surprise by asking me to become President of the choir and, once I’d got my breath back, I accepted, and it is one of the things I request stays in my otherwise eminently editable biog. The distance between the choir and me means that I feel very often like some kind of absentee landlord, though I hope I offer some kind of support, so to be able to go up and accompany them in Mozart’s Requiem was a real treat.
We performed in the beautiful (again!) church at Kirkby Malham (the Cathedral of the Dales, I was reliably informed) and, although I am not generally a fan of the electronic in the speaker vs. pipe organ debate, I was still rather glad to have something reliable and responsive under my hands and feet. We had a good crowd, too, possibly helped by a mention on Radio 3, and it is proof that London and its environs can suffer from concert overload, for I have seen far smaller crowds for far bigger concerts in the capital.
This bodes well for my impending move westwards, of course, and, now that I am getting to the stage where I am finally signing things which have been agreed rather than trying to get people to agree to lend money and so on, I am allowing myself to get a little excited. There will be bumps along the road, of course, and bringing the move forward a year will inevitably mean some juggling of my calendar, but, now that we are nearly there, I am beginning to get itchy at the thought of my cottage in the country (or, to be precise, my and my bank’s cottage in the country).
The idea of sitting in the Somerset countryside and writing music is immensely appealing after nineteen years in London, and it is good to know that there will be pieces for me to write while I am down there. MC800, of course, also a couple of carol arrangements (at the moment) and then various other commissions and hopeful soon-to-be commissions after that. This is going to be a good patch for writing, and I am rediscovering some of the enthusiasm that comes from ideas tumbling over ideas, from one piece feeding into the next and the next feeding into the former. I am sure that the times when I am writing will prove to be oases of calm in what might well be a quite busy period.