As we draw toward the weekend, I have to say that this week has been better than the last in many ways, and the first performance of O God Of Earth And Altar at Smith Square was a highlight. It is not easy to go up against the likes of Purcell, Monteverdi and Vivaldi, heavy hitters all, but I hope that I was not too comprehensively outclassed. The Parliament Choir were on great form, Simon Over and Southbank Sinfonia likewise, and we had a stunning array of soloists, including warring countertenors for Sound The Trumpet.
As I played in the rehearsal and concert I was aware that I was enjoying it, which was something of a relief. For reasons which are probably quite obvious, I had felt rather empty up to last Wednesday, baffled, really, about how to get back what I enjoy so much about music and music making. The nagging voice at the back of my mind kept wondering about what to do if my get up and go had simply got up and gone, but it clearly just went for a breather, and it is hard not to be inspired by such great music and great performances.
My word, though, what a composer Purcell was! Every now and again I imagined him going about his daily business, not five minutes from where we performed on Wednesday, music and text fusing into the most wonderful and natural imagery in that fertile mind. A happy man, too, by all accounts.
I have escaped from London once more for a couple of days in the rush of this concert season, the Somerset countryside simply resplendent in the spring sunshine, the tops of the hills part-hidden in layers of gentle haze. We had lunch in Frome yesterday and then were part of a spontaneous and lengthy meeting of neighbours in the courtyard behind our cottage – six adults, two children, two dogs and a cat. It is a happy place to be.
In terms of writing I am still ticking along with the current commissions, in the early stages, I would say. Having spent February finishing pieces it is odd to be back at the start of the process once more, going through the tough hours of hammering away at material until a shape emerges. Almost every single time it feels as though a piece is going to be simply impossible to write, but they always seem to come together.