Saturday, 3 July 2010

A very real slice of life

It was a fine day of filming today, which stayed on schedule and was blessed with beautiful sunshine. It started at dawn at Rievaulx Abbey with the wonderful Ebor singers. I was hugely impressed by their professionalism and the way with which they threw themselves into the slightly bizarre visual world of my symphony. Keith shot some extremely impressive material. We used a jib and allowed the camera to float around in the sky and dive down on the choir from the very top of the abbey ruins.

We returned to Leeds to film sequences in Hyde Park and at the indoor market. I suppose my favourite shot was on a back-to-back terraced street where people still hang their washing out over the road. We were lucky enough to catch an elderly lady putting out her sheets, and Miles the violinist played in front of her. It felt like a very real slice of life in that particular corner of the city and I felt very privileged to be able to include it in our film.

The day ended with Michael the pianist in a sort of piano restoration centre. It was filled to the brim with dusty pianos and pieces of keboard and it made the perfect location for Michael, who plays such wonderfully old-school music. As we were setting up the shot, he moved from one piano to another, treating us to several standards; The Man I Love and Don’t It Make Your Brown Eyes Blue; all played in his inimitable style. Fabulous. It also gave me a rather splendid idea for another composition; how does "Concerto for piano shop" sound? I'd write a piece of music that could be performed live by every piano in a piano shop...

Not a great deal happened in Pepys’ life 350 years ago. There was an extremely lengthy meeting at the Admiralty Office but Pepys still didn’t feel secure that the post he’d just been awarded would remain his in perpetuity. In fact, on this date, he paid someone L50, simply to go away and stop trying to claim the post for himself!

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