It was so early this morning when my alarm sounded that I instinctively thought that I must be catching a flight. Not so, for today is the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Carta, so I was off to Runnymede not quite so bright but extremely early, grateful, staring at the bleary-eyed commuters, that I was travelling out of London rather than into it. At least, that was the case until I missed my stop and had to retrace part of the journey, but thankfully the early start gave me more than enough time to cope with this mishap, and I was at Runnymede in good time to have a look around, shake hands with many colleagues and then, to my surprise, see myself appear on the big screens around the venue, talking about 1215: Foundation Of Liberty.
I was busy hunting for cover when it was being broadcast, but my impression was that it was very well put together indeed, and a nice little appetiser for the performance to come. Of course, there were several thousand other people there, along with royalty and various high-ups from church and state, and even the sun eventually put in an appearance about half way through the morning.
The extract of 1215 was broadcast to the assembled throng, nicely paced and convincingly played, and I am hugely grateful to all those who were involved in getting this performance together, and, after the main events of the morning were done, I trotted over to the BBC Radio Berkshire tent for an interview with Anne Diamond who was an integral part of my student mornings, she and Nick (Owen) always my preferred televisual option after morning choir practice.
In many ways it is a relief to be sitting here now, and not just because I am about to have a nap. Today is the end of the run-up for 1215, I think, and the big work of the full performance begins now as we gear up towards November. Some of those in the meadow this morning might be involved in that performance, and the initial reception, from them and from the crowd, was warmly positive, even though it was very much an “edited highlights” package. Frankly, I can’t wait to hear the piece in its full state, and am really looking forward to it.