I often feel that this blog most be something of a boring read – did this again, did that again, snuck in a bit of the other again – but then I bump into people who tell me that they enjoy reading it and I feel inspired to attack it with renewed vigour. Throwing words out on the internet is a strange thing, because it often feels as if one is dropping a stone into a very large, very deep and probably very empty well, but sometimes things ripple out, and it serves as a reminder that these words, whose purpose is sometimes nebulous, can provide some kind of enjoyment and spark a little interest.
So here we go again, again, trying to make sure that I do actually keep up with this writing, and at this particular moment I am sitting at Bar Baldaccio in Anghiari, so it is not a bad place to be making a resolution to redouble my efforts. Espresso macchiato beside me, two Italians bemoaning Ferrari’s lamentable 2019 Formula One efforts on the next table (I feel your pain), notepad, pencil, watch, cap, sunglasses, all the paraphernalia of the Festival to hand.
By my reckoning this is my ninth year working at the Festival, although I might have miscounted so it is possible that this is my decade fulfilled, and I learn a little more each year about how to go about it. There are many wonderful things, of course, such as the music, and food (pictured below) and the company, but it is hard and tiring work with a strange and slightly difficult timetable, so each year I approach it just a little more sensibly, but only a little, and feel better for it.
It is always a delight to encounter new works in the Festival as well, oddities such as the Concerto for String Quartet and Orchestra by Spohr, as well as classics such as the Op.18 Quartets by Beethoven, and one needs to mention perforce the friendships and the sense of general camaraderie in the town. While I would hesitate to say that any place is entirely perfect, I would have to posit that Anghiari comes pretty close at this time of year.
Tucked away on Wednesday evening is a performance of my Tu Es Petrus, in the garden of Piero della Francesca, no less, in nearby Sansepolcro. This will be an outdoor performance, which is likely to bring with it some challenges in terms of acoustics, so I have added a part for timpani for some extra rhythmic precision, at the wise suggestion of Simon Over, who will be conducting. So the question is, does this count as a premiere?