Inspiration, if that is what it is, can strike in truly unexpected places. I spent a long Easter Day (up at five, six hours of travelling, home seventeen hours later) playing and teaching, encountering music from Hassler to Leighton, and having a sudden burst of light from the old warhorse that is Hugh Blair’s setting of the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis in B minor. I am not sure if the inspiration was Blair’s own idea, or merely the way I played something truly insignificant he had written, but the sound of it stood out and was immediately associated with an idea in my own Mag & Nunc in progress. As this will be my fourth official setting of these texts (my fifth if you include a youthful pre-teen effort) I am on the lookout for new ways to set these words convincingly. This idea is certainly a start.
There has also been some genuine interest in the Carta Cantata, and as soon as this blog is posted I will be tidying up a few corners of the rehearsal score and getting it off to people. There is nothing more that I can say about it at the moment, but I will be working hard to make a full performance before the end of the year possible.
Post-Easter I have cleared out a week in my diary to do some writing, a little bit of catching up and a lot of relaxing. I was fortunate enough to spend yesterday driving around country lanes in a classic convertible BMW, and the smells and squeaks of that car (along with the exhaust’s throaty roar as it powered away in second and third) took me right back to the two-seater sports car I had before I moved to London.
In my middle age, which is where I suppose I am now, ostentation is pretty low on my list of priorities, but fun and enjoyment are close to the top, and I remember my old car with huge affection, but it had to be sold when I moved to London. The joy of driving with the roof off has been something I have really missed for the past twenty years, but having it back yesterday was wondrous. I know that bikers enjoy being in the open, but long gone are the days when you could have the wind in your hair on a motorbike. The sights and sounds on such a beautiful day were quite enchanting, although the country smells maybe less so.
The road led us, accidentally, to Deerleap, near Priddy, and I have since discovered that two stones nearby, standing suspiciously proud in a field, are Neolithic remnants, another of my points of interest. As I lay on the hillside in the sun I thought of Howells and Gurney who walked the hills of Gloucestershire, my home county, and maybe, just maybe, came to Priddy as well. The view was spectacular, even inspirational.