Trevor being a great tour guide.

Trevor being a great tour guide.

This morning we had a group excursion to Canterbury to visit the cathedral, do a bit of shopping and re-acquaint ourselves with a bit of civilisation. The cathedral is stunning, a great sprawling building that just seems to keep going and going. As with most large English churches, the ‘choir’ cuts the interior in half, and so it’s hard to appreciate the sheer size when walking around inside. However, the space behind the choir was enormous, as was the crypt underneath, and we spent a good two hours looking round. Trevor proved to be a good guide, telling us bits and pieces of history mixed in with stories of his musical work with the cathedral and choir.

Afterwards, we were let loose for a while to amuse ourselves. I took the opportunity to buy some jeans (the two pairs that traveled round Europe with

me are starting to look a little sad) and heels (so that I’m not going to see the London Symphony Orchestra next week wearing hiking boots!), and to wander longingly round the food department of M&S.

Back to practice in the afternoon. I was rather tired today after a couple of late nights, and it was really interesting to see what did and didn’t go well considering that:

– First hour, playing tunes, Taffanel and Gaubert No. 4 and Reichert No. 2 was good in terms of memory, though my lips didn’t feel terribly responsive.

View of the cathedral from a little back-street.

View of the cathedral from a little back-street.

– Second hour, playing the advanced technical exercises on page 12 of Trevor’s Practice Book 6 was great – I playing A, B, C and D at crotchet = 112, and just about survived Q! Other exercises that followed were ok.

Then my Grandma rang for a chat, which was a lovely surprise!

– Third hour, playing scales, was rather hit-and-miss. At the tempos I outlined on Wednesday, some went really well (arpeggios felt fantastic) and some were awful. My lips were not at all happy with high notes.

– Fourth hour, working on Andersen Op. 15 No. 4 was a bit of a fight against fatigue. I had a really clear idea of what I wanted to do musically, and so spent a lot of the time playing everything really slowly, with beautifully clear staccatos and (hopefully) good dynamic relationships between all the notes despite horrendous leaps!

I also took the time this afternoon to read an article by Alex Ross on the opening night of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer at the Met, and it’s definitely worth a look. I’m totally for this opera being performed – it’s really important to engage with relevant material through such a powerful medium. It would seem that some people want opera to stay firmly in the realm of fantasy, but I don’t understand why. As with theatre and film, music and opera that gets people talking and thinking is exactly what we need.

Now time for an early night!