One of the things that I particularly like about the various aspects of my profession is that everything I do goes to inform something else. What I learned in the past as a singer has informed my present as a composer of vocal music (other genres are available, of course), while experience in the orchestra pit has shaped me as a conductor.
There are many other facets of musical life that somehow come together in the spider’s web that is a musician’s career. At a study day on Saturday with the University of London Church Choir, looking at Duruflé’s Requiem I was able to draw on my experience of his music as organist, singer, conductor, composer, analyst, and also as a visitor to Solesmes, where their research on chant had such an impact on that work.
Remembering that visit to Solesmes, made with the gentlemen of St. George’s Cathedral, has made me a little wistful over the past few days, for another of that heavenly host shuffled off this mortal coil over the summer, and the news only reached those of us who remain a couple of weeks ago. Together with Nick Gale, who I remembered last night as I drove past the school where we used to teach together, two of the driving characters behind that visit are no longer with us.
There has been a little too much coil-shuffling of late, especially in these past two weeks, but where Nick and that other member of St. George’s are concerned I was thrilled to find that an acquaintance had kept a copy of a long sequence of correspondence between the two. Nick and Mark, at different ends of the internet, contrived to invent various characters and a wholly fictional and riotous discussion about certain composers from Doncaster and the surrounding area.
Even thinking about that correspondence makes me smile, and a friend mentioned that he could hear both of them cackling in his head as he reread it, imagining them attempting to out-invent the other. Eventually the administrators of the unfortunate forum where this was all taking place got involved and told them to stop, but not before the story of Eartha Constanza Postlouthwaite had reached epic proportions.