I am newly returned from my first visit to Anghiari for three years, the first Maratona Corale since 2019. It does pretty much what it says on the tin, involving a group of intrepid singers getting together on a Friday evening for a first rehearsal, working for over eight hours on the Saturday, and then performing a concert or, in this case, providing the music for a Mass on the Sunday evening.

The kind of view I had forgotten about.

While the music was naturally the focus of the weekend, there was also genuine joy at being back in the town, at being once more in the company of people we expected to see again within a few months, not three whole years down the line. As with all friends, though, it was as if we had never been away.

Meeting old friends at Bar Baldaccio.

The travel side of it was worse than it has ever been, the queues at Bristol airport at ten to five in the morning (in the morning!) needing to be seen to be believed. On the way back my first train was forty five minutes late, so I missed my connection, but thankfully the security queue at Fiumicino was non-existent. The thought of missing my flight was weighing on my mind, but in the end it all turned out well and I was back at home in time to relax and enjoy some of the evening.

Shiny!

On the Sunday evening I also got to play the new organ in Carmine church, moved there from Arezzo Cathedral, and it is a fine piece of kit, spitty and snarly in that German Baroque kind of way, so I rolled out some Buxtehude for the voluntary, which definitely showed off its strengths in that repertoire. I’ll be performing a Handel organ concerto on the same instrument during the Festival in July, which is even more exciting now that I have had a chance to get acquainted with the instrument.

Read all about it…

Awaiting me at home were freshly printed copies of my Missa Clemens, which we will be performing at Hampstead on 12th June (if my memory is correct), and the days ahead will include an opera concert in Oborne, some arranging, a little bit of RetroChic and some work on the symphony. Ah, the symphony – it came up a lot in Anghiari when I was chatting to people about what I had been up to during the pandemic, so it really is about time that I got to grips with finishing the orchestration so that at some point I can finally drop the ‘nearly’ from ‘nearly finished.’

Good to be back.