Ah, the joys of an evening off! It’s not even 8 o’clock, and I’ve finished all the work I need to do for the day. I’ve been running, I’ve printed out all the scores I need for tomorrow, so all that’s left for me to do tonight is eat a bit of food, and relax.
It’s a joy to be inside the house. The weather has taken a considerable turn for the worst and it was blowing a force ten gale earlier, which froze me to the bone. I just ran myself a lovely hot bath, but when I came to get in, found it was stone cold. The hot water is obviously programmed to come on later than I had thought. I don’t know what it is with me and cold baths. I guess they’re just a by-product of looking forward to something too much!
I’ve just finished my session with the string players. They played wonderfully; so wonderfully, in fact, that I had time at the end of the session to very quickly record a piece of music that Nathan wrote many years ago. I used to play in a string quartet with close friends Fiona, Ted and Chloe. We were all former members of the Northamptonshire Youth Chamber Orchestra and played together regularly as teenagers. In later years, we’d meet on Sunday afternoons in Kentish Town, to eat biscuits and play through highlights of the string quartet repertoire. Nathan, very kindly, wrote a piece for us to play, and we only ever managed to play it through once before life got in the way, and we stopped meeting for our nostalgic Sunday sessions. Nathan has always said how sad he was that he didn’t think to record his quartet as we played it through that one time. I've always wanted to remedy this by recording it for him with some proper musicians. I can’t bear the thought that someone would spend hours writing a piece of music that he or she would never get a chance to hear properly played.
Unfortunately, all that existed of Nathan’s music was the original score, which was covered in coffee stains. I therefore had to spend a few evenings this week creating a new score from which I could print the individual parts. Frankly, it was the least I could do. Nathan has spent so many hours of his life making websites for me, singing my vocals, conducting my music, choreographing my films and generally keeping me sane, which itself is a full time job.
I didn’t actually know what I was dealing with, in terms of music. I couldn’t remember a great deal of the piece from the time we played it before. It was therefore an incredibly pleasant surprise to discover that Nathan had written something really very good; certainly good for someone who’d previously never written classical music, but also good by the standards of any composer. There’s a section in the middle which is breathtakingly beautiful. The recording we made is by no means perfect. We didn't have very long, which meant the players were pretty much sight reading, but they really enjoyed playing it, and I hope Nathan will be thrilled and proud of the result. I can’t wait to see his face when he hears it!
50 years ago, Pepys went to church. He left Elizabeth at home suffering from her “menses.” Poor Pepys was so desperate for children, that his regular charting of his wife’s monthly cycle takes on a rather tragic significance.
In the evening, Pepys called in on Sir William Batten, where a veritable crowd of people was beginning to assemble. They ate oysters and drank strong waters and were very merry. So merry, in fact, that Elizabeth was dragged from her sick bed to join the party.
The final sentence of the entry is worth quoting in full. “This day the parson read a proclamation at church, for the keeping of Wednesday next, the 30th of January, a fast for the murther [sic] of the late King.” A day of fasting? What a perfect little royalist state England had become in the space of a year!