Well, what a year it’s been… as we head into winter this year, still facing so much uncertainty, it has been amazing to see the resilience and adaptability that so many musicians and artists have shown in the face of such uncompromising times.
We can hope that things will return to normal soon, or that even a new normal will emerge, the past few months having left its indelible mark, no matter how small, on our collective consciousness. I have been incredibly fortunate to be part of several projects that happened this summer, and they really felt like a lifeline, being able to dip my toe back into the water of doing what I love.
Luckily, The Hermes Experiment’s debut album HERE WE ARE, which was released in the first hard lockdown, was actually recorded the previous October. We had a blast recording a real wide range of pieces that were written for us over the past six years, and we were thrilled with the project’s positive reception. It’s available on Spotify, Apple Music, or in good old fashioned CD format from Delphian Records.
Another, more recent, release is Mark Simpson’s Geysir/Gran Partita recording, in which you can hear me singing away on the basset horn from time to time. Mark wrote Geysir as a companion piece to Mozart’s huge wind serenade, and I think the two pieces sit alongside each other so well. Mark’s piece pushes the 13-wind ensemble to its limit, exploring warm, rich gurgling textures that crash against bright explosions of colour. Check it out here.
Away from the classical world, you can catch me as part of a small semi-jazz band (is that even a thing?) on the BBC drama Roadkill, featuring Hugh Laurie as a crooked politician who’ll stop at nothing to get to the top… the wonderful music by Harry Escott oscillates between calm, collected schmooze and more intense electronic soundscapes, and was a lot of fun to put together.
Britten Sinfonia have been successful in securing some of the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which will enable them to adapt their existing schedule and bring as much music as possible in COVID-friendly configurations to audiences all around the east of England. Watch this space for more developments.
This pandemic, amidst the confusion, uncertainty and stress, has also offered a chance to reflect and recalibrate. Who knows what the musical landscape will look like in one month, in six months, a year, five years, but I know that, along with many other people, beyond the rocky day-to-day moments, I feel incredibly lucky to be doing what I’m doing. Enjoy what you can when you can, and here’s to 2021 offering a stable recovery and bold future!
Picture: My local park in Crystal Palace where I passed much lockdown time…