It was a real pleasure to be at Exeter Cathedral yesterday evening for a thrilling performance of Flyht. The boys and girls of the Cathedral Choir combined with the back-row pros, skilfully accompanied by David Davies (those pesky Magdalen Organ Scholars get everywhere) under the secure and sympathetic direction of Andrew Millington. There was also a representative of Exeter College Oxford, present, for they commissioned the work in the first place, and I am glad to report that the Old English text was written out and translated in the programme for all to follow. The piece received a very warm reception, and I was really pleased with the way it was communicated and delivered to the audience.
It was a very, very strange experience to listen to it, though. Hearing one’s own pieces being performed is always akin to being on a very, very scary thrill ride indeed, but yesterday it felt even more intense than usual, perhaps because Flyht is a piece which has continued to have a life after its first performance, and which I therefore know very well. While listening it was almost as if I was inside the music, aware of every single note and every single articulation, intimately acquainted with every limb, every sinew, every cell. Quite unnerving.
I returned home to Somerset after the performance, just for long enough to grab my travelling bag, and then pointed the Toyota to London, arriving deep into the night, and this morning I have been up early to play at Mary Abbots. Tomorrow, of course, is Magna Carta day, and it will be another early start after another late night, but a premiere of at least a portion of 1215: Foundation Of Liberty. A year and a half ago, when I first put pencil to paper for this piece, I might have imagined that 15th June 2015 would be the end of the journey, but I am coming to believe more and more that it will just be the start. We will, after tomorrow, at last be able to turn our attention wholly and fully to the full performance in November, and tomorrow’s extract might even reappear elsewhere before the summer is out.
I’ll be hands-off tomorrow, sitting somewhere among the vast crowd while someone much more able than I will hustle the band into action – hopefully I will be sitting close enough to hear it – and then I am due to be interviewed by some lovely radio people. I will have to get used to that unnerving feeling for just a little while longer.