Work done in London, my journey westwards normally takes place late in the evening, which, at this time of the year, means that I chase the setting sun as it travels over the horizon. I have to say that the journey is spectacular, constantly changing and awash with different colours, textures and points of interest. One of my favourite moments is the dip in the A303 just after the Solstice Services. You begin at the top of the brow, level with the Plain, and the reds, oranges, yellow and blues of the sky run across the horizon. Then, however, the road plunges, and, as it does so, the silhouette of Stonehenge rises as if from the earth to stand boldly against the ochre sky. That monument takes my breath away every time I pass it, making me think also of Hardy (“…and starlit Stonehenge.”), but at this time of year it is something to be savoured, the guardian to my journey home. I could write also about the trees, like so many delicate Japanese paper cuttings, or the leafy-canopied roads, framing the blue of the distant sky in green above, dark below, but I think I would just go on and on, indeed, already have. I like to switch the radio off and just enjoy the drive, and it gives me time to reflect and think.
As far as work is concerned, I have finished some arrangements for Southbank Sinfonia, including an orchestration of Loewe’s setting of Erlkonig, interesting but not, I am sad to say, as god as Schubert’s prodigious teenage setting, and now I have to get on with arranging a couple of pieces for The Big Day at Runnymede, the deadlines for which are tight but not uncomfortably so. Now that the final details appear to have slotted into place it is time to get to work. Frankly, there has been a decent amount of back and forthing on the whole thing (not our fault) and I fully expect things to change even at this late date, but I cannot reasonably leave this any longer. The extract of 1215 for the day is close to chosen and, I think, packs a decent punch, so I need to get various sound files done first and then set to work on arranging the parts. We also need to assemble a choir, for many singers have been hugely keen to be involved but it has been impossible to provide details when there have been none to provide. Now, though, it is time to move and, if you are one of those singers, expect details very soon. Honestly, if they changed everything yet again the day before the performance I would stay up all night to get anything done that might be necessary. My fingers are only crossed that the Monday morning of 15th June will not be cold and drizzly. Everything else I can deal with myself.