I am sitting in my umpteenth departure lounge of the past three weeks, but this time heading homewards after an exciting weekend in Anghiari.  We did one of those things where the choir comes together on Friday evening, then we work through the weekend to perform a concert on the Sunday evening.  In preparation for this year’s Festival we performed Gounod’s St. Cecilia Mass, which tied in nicely with the performance by Parliament Choir at Notre Dame (it still doesn’t feel real) only last Tuesday.  We have been running these choral marathons in Anghiari for eight years or so now, and the base standard has improved to the extent that we are able to hit the ground running on the Friday evening and go upwards from there.  The concert itself was a great success, enjoyed by choir, audience, soloists and conductor, and you can’t say fairer than that.  I had been slightly concerned that our audience was rather slim, but behind my back as I conducted the first half of the concert it all began to fill out, and when I did get a brief chance to turn around I saw that we had a full house.  Standing ovation at the end, too.

I’ve said before that Anghiari is a place where I feel very welcome.  People have come to know me over the years, singers, residents, restaurant owners and bar staff alike, and it is good to know that I shall be back there at the end of July for the Festival, especially as the schedule is slightly more forgiving than it was two years ago, and also as I have discovered the benefits of Skype to keep me in touch with those still in the UK.  My thanks to all those involved in this weekend’s performance – as always, it is a team effort by many, many people, and the success of the enterprise depends on each and every one of them.

This morning, though, it was up bright and early to get here to the airport across some positively filling-rattling roads, and I’ll be straight into rehearsal when I get back to London and then, finally, back home late tonight.  Enzo Ferrari always said that his favourite F1 Ferrari was always the next one, and a musician’s focus is always on the next concert once the previous one is done.  It has been such a rush this week, Paris and Anghiari within a few days of each other, that it will be worth a little emotional reflection in the fullness of time, rather than purely technical reflection (this lead could be more secure, that tempo could be slower, and so on).  Whatever, it has been a successful time, and, lest I forget, next Saturday I’ll be up in Yorkshire with Cantores Salicium for the first performance of my Levavi Oculos.  As I said, the focus is always on the next concert.

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