I was back to really intensive music making last week, and the combination of four very early starts indeed in a row knocked me sideways by the time Wednesday rolled around, especially when combined with the number of miles I was covering in the Audi. It reminded me why I have worked so hard to avoid precisely that kind of thing, as well as serving as a shot across the bows in case I thought that going back to that way of life was a good idea.
The week began with some more detailed work on the Bach with Parliament Choir, and our long-delayed concert might finally take place this week. If you are going to spend nearly two years stuck in the middle of a global pandemic with a piece of music, then the Mass in B minor is not a bad choice to have, so we have been lucky on that front, and I am not yet remotely bored of working on it, and will be sad to leave it behind.
There was Bach elsewhere in the week as well, as organ voluntaries in the lovely village of Milton Bryant for a lockdown-delayed memorial service, and on the morning of Remembrance Sunday. There is barely a note wrong in any of his pieces, and experiencing them as a performer never ceases to be an amazing experience. Mind you, I played the last of Brahms’s Op.122 Chorale Preludes at Remembrance Evensong on Sunday, the final pieces he completed, and that was also powerful stuff, the right piece for the right time.
The highlight of the week was – no, not the rehearsal with Clyve’s Soul City Foundation – the Remembrance service at Christ Church, Hampstead, where a choir of six performed movements from the Victoria Requiem. Having begun to put the choir together over a month ago it had reached the stage on Friday morning when it looked as though I might have to sing the soprano line myself, as there appeared to be not a single sop free, but thankfully somebody proved to be available at just the right moment, ironically somebody I should have contacted very early on. With choir and trumpeter, though, it was an impressive occasion, and I have not looked forward to a Sunday morning quite so much for a very long time.
Unfortunately composition once again fell rather by the wayside, as I seemed to spend most of my time either playing (organs), hammering away at the miles on various motorways, or trying to book singers, but this week and beyond already look to be much more clear, and I can feel the snippets of music running around my head, which is always a good sign. With a bit of luck I am now done with that overlap between leftover lockdown commitments and what might be termed normal life, so it is time to take a deep breath and look forwards.