I do not imagine for a second that people’s days are ruined when there is nothing new to read on this blog, but I am aware that I have been writing less of late than in the past. It is not that there is nothing about which to write, merely that a large chunk of it is information whose value is not necessarily enhanced by being out there on the internet for all to see for ever and ever and ever and so on. Even so, life ticks on or ebbs away or whatever it is that life does, possibly depending on whether you are a half-full or half-empty kind of person, or just needing a top-up, like me.
I spent the weekend in France, my main musical engagement being playing the organ for the performance of Messiah in Puycelsi. I missed the very first of these concerts, but this was the tenth anniversary of what are now twice-yearly events, and it seems strange to think that initially there was strong doubt that enough of an audience would be attracted to make such an endeavour viable more often than every two years. There we were, however, the concert pretty much sold out even the day before, and with beautiful late summer sun to fill the sky and the valley. In the directorial hands of Mark Opstad and the organisational embrace of Ross and Ginny Jenkins it was never going to be anything but a huge success, but the quality of that success just gets better and better each year.
I was able to spend some valuable time on family matters in France as well, staying up late into the night with my brother while we put the world to rights and made extra, extra sure that the quality of French wine was up to the mark. Those late nights would not have been quite so tiring had it not been for the locals taking potshots at pigeons from about seven in the morning, and my bleary-eyed excursions to the local patisserie seemed only to confirm that around 93% of the population of Vaour seemed to be very heavily armed, although very cheerily disposed towards fellow humans.
Yesterday, Monday, was one of those transit days, touching down in the UK at 4.30 and warming up Parliament Choir at 6.15, then back to Somerset finally around midnight or so after one of those journeys where they seem to have taken all the roads in. We ran through The Human Seasons in rehearsal yesterday, its first opportunity to come off the page, and, after two abandoned compositional efforts on my part, I am glad to say that the choir seemed to enjoy it, even though listening to it accompanied on the organ is a little like watching some glorious film in black and white. I am ticking away on the orchestration already, and hoping to continue to expand my tonal palette.
Over the weekend there came also the confirmation of a new commission, of which more later, but for today I think I am going to enjoy being back home. Personally it was a strange weekend, quietly wearing in the background, as an ongoing matter winds itself slowly and inexorably to its conclusion. Many people, aware of this, have offered small kindnesses over the weekend, probably, they think, without being able to make much of a difference. Not so. If those people happen to be reading this, then let me assure them that each offer, each action counts. The news would have us believe that all is doom and gloom in the world, but innumerable small good deeds are done each and every day, and we should all try to be a part of that.