Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Mother Nature's trump card

I woke up this morning and took myself for a walk in Highgate Woods as the sun burst through the mist. It is difficult to say quite how moving I found the experience. Sometimes Mother Nature works very hard to remind us what astonishing beauty she has the capacity to create.

The trees were covered in a thick rind of frost. The sun was lighting the tops of the branches so that they glowed yellow against a powder blue sky. It was an impressionist light; soft around the edges. Those who passed me on the paths between the trees seemed to be smiling to themselves. We were definitely sharing a moment of great beauty.
I returned from the wood to piles of tax receipts and continued the mind-numbing task of putting them in date order. The big court case (see September 2011) took place in this particular tax year, and it seemed that every box or file I opened was somehow sent to remind me that the pain still hadn’t quite left my body.  On a more positive note, I’d actually paid tax on the full amount that was taken away from me, so I’m due a fairly hefty rebate. I’m pretty confident that, once the accounts have gone in and been cleared, I’ll finally be able to gain a sense of closure on the matter, a full three years after the Choir Invisible commissioned me to write a suite of songs for them.

But just look at this sky!!

Nathan and I are off to York tomorrow to hear the wonderful Sounds Fun choir performing another one of my songs; a setting of a Lewis Carroll poem which my good friend Matt describes as “the best piece of music I’ve ever written.” Oddly, I can’t even remember writing it. I don’t know when I wrote it. I don’t know why. Latterly, I started adding it to the score of my adaptation of Alice Through the Looking-Glass, but I couldn’t tell you which of the 12 or so performances of that work was the first to feature the piece. All I know is that I found the manuscript nestling in a bottom draw just before the concert of my work last November and speedily arranged it for three voices. The songs which write themselves are often the most successful.

It’s the 12th of December today, which makes it 12.12.12. I took a photo of the clock on my computer at twelve minutes past twelve and thought for some time about the significance of the date. It is the last time I’ll see a date of this sort in my life time. I don’t know why that felt so peculiar. It’s only a date, but I’m glad I marked it.

London went into a massive thaw on this date 350 years ago, which caused a considerable amount of flooding in Pepys’ house, much to his great chagrin. There’s not a lot else to say because Pepys himself doesn’t have a great deal more to say!

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