Today will be a day of cramming it all in, the big things that have been pushed back and the small things that have just slipped through the net. Tomorrow it is back to Anghiari for the Festival, a feast of music, companionship, and running around the Tuscan countryside trying to keep up with everything.
Once upon a time I went out to introduce concerts, but over the years that role has expanded to include playing, directing rehearsals, arranging and – of course – composing. For all the strange comments that somehow come my way (“Your road signs are in the wrong place!” “Who is your legal representation?” “I’ve read about your piece and it sounds ghastly!”) the good things remain and the bad things…well, they become anecdotes for the next year.
Apart from the friendship of the town itself, all enveloped in the sound of musics from windows, stages and squares, there is the Festival atmosphere – an Allegri Quartet member here, a Southbank player there, an incognito celebrity at the furthermost table at the bar – that places a surprise around every corner. Also, for the visitors at least, there is the sense of being off the clock.
I want, though, to bring some attention to those who work incessantly behind the scenes to make sure that everything works. I would wager significant amounts that the happy folks in the seats in front of the stage have only the smallest knowledge of what happens in the entire year leading up to the Festival, but be advised that the effort is considerable and unstinting.
Personally, it means that I can fly in, do my stuff to the best of my ability, and fly out again safe in the knowledge that everything has been looked after, and that even the wrinkles will be smoothly and calmly ironed. Tours are not always like that, so if the magnetism of Nando’s (no, not that Nando’s) keeps me from saying it, a heartfelt thank you. A presto, and who’s up for some Codenames?