I can still get giddily excited about things, musical and otherwise. Being accepted as a board game reviewer by Games Quest had me literally skipping up the stairs of my house in joy, for example, while every message that brings with it the possibility of a commission has me punching the air with joy and awarding myself time off for a coffee.
Often my greatest delights come from the unexpected, though, such as having a table named after me at a wedding reception (the theme was British composers), receiving a dedication in a book (forthcoming), or being mentioned in a young composer’s biography as one of their teachers. These small pleasures, above and beyond the everyday, bring me genuine and lasting happiness, the more so because they are so quirky.
An email on Saturday, however, brought the hint of a joyous tear to these jaded eyes, as it informed me that I have been given permission to play the organ at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig after Evensong on 21st October. That’s the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Bach’s church.
This will surely rank above conducting in Haydn’s concert hall, shaking the hand of Christopher Finzi, even (yes, even!) playing Bohemian Rhapsody on Freddie’s Fazioli, and I know that the experience will change me in some small way, pretentious as it may sound. To study and know a composer’s life and work is one thing, but to inhabit their spaces represents another level entirely.
The only question now is what to play. I jest, of course, because it could never be anything but a work by the master himself, my own notes woefully inadequate by comparison, if always aspiring to express even a little of that greatness.