Friday, 18 June 2010

Purple violins

Today’s been a particularly fine day in the studio. We’ve had so many highlights, including Ed Alleyne-Johnson, the extraordinary electric violin pioneer, the wonderfully precise Ebor singers, and the Yorkshire saxophone choir, who against all my expectations absolutely blew my mind by bringing a level of professionalism to the live room which set new standards. Musician after musician passed through the studio hugely well prepared, and even though we found ourselves running considerably behind at one stage, I’m really pleased with the work we’ve done. I’m also thrilled with the team we’ve built around us. Hazel and Simon the producer/engineers, Dan the conductor and Alison from BBC Leeds have all achieved mini-miracles within the last week and simultaneously kept me buoyant at all times. I am absolutely indebted to each one of them.

...And for those of you who aren’t aware of the work of Ed Alleyne-Johnson, have a listen to this clip on you tube. We found him busking on the streets of York, and I asked him to take part in the symphony, unaware that I was speaking to the man who’d written and performed the Purple Violin Concerto; the man who was really the first violinist to experiment with looping and pedal techniques. He’s basically a God... Listen to him here

Speaking of Gods, Pepys was a busy man on this date 350 years ago. He spent the day working for Montagu, dipping his fingers into all kinds of pies in the hope that a bit of money might legitimately find its way into his pocket. Pepys then went with his master by barge to Trinity House in Deptford, where they had “great entertainment”. Sadly he isn’t specific about what form this entertainment took.

It was later in the day that Montagu took Pepys to one side to tell him that he was going to make him Clerk of the Acts; a hugely important position which would make him responsible for the entire secretarial side of the Navy Board’s work.

True to form, Elizabeth’s brother Balty, re-appeared, once again begging Pepys to use his position and reputation to help to find him a position which more suited the role he felt he was owed by his upbringing. Pepys, as always was reticent, bordering on condescending.

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