Li’l Pleasures

from Friday, June25th of the year2010.

I’m sitting alone in a hotel in Salisbury, drinking unspeakable wine and listening to Palestrina and emailing friends. Is there a greater pleasure? I’m in London! Two Boys opens up in here in exactly One Year, which is thrilling and terrifying. I’ve been here doing workshops, which is a pleasure and a penance, as it begins the gradual process of releasing this opera into the world and into the hands of the production team.

The workshops were great, and, as always, a chance to meet young singers, which is always a welcome bonus of these things. These young singers had an especial anxiety about getting the notes and rhythms right, which is one of these interesting things. Some notes and rhythms I really really care about, but I’m most interested in what happens when they relax into them and make them their own. Almost universally, if you tell a singer, just don’t sing the rhythms, sing whatever you want, they end up doing a perfect, relaxed, precise, Ninja-like interpretation of what the score says. Go know. With singers I feel like you need to be some combination of the Dog Whisperer and Mary Poppins to get the desired result (which, as with all things, is a Relaxed and Elegant Precision).

Some thoughts:

St. Paul’s Cathedral is Elegantly Precise.

This pudding (from St John Bread + Wijn) is Precisely Elegant.

Butter chicken is Iconic.

Are these mixed messages? Are we being elegantly precise here? Why don’t I own an automatic label machine again?

I’m super excited because Decca are releasing a recording by the Los Angeles Master Chorale of a big pile of my choral music! It’s very exciting for me because this material has had a very strange life and it’s great to see it all collected together. I like thinking on the guardian angels of the music, too: two pieces written for George Steel, one when I was like, 19, and another last year, and two written for Judith Clurman in various guises, one from about six years ago and another from four years ago. Tim Brown, John Scott, my old choirmaster Mark Johnson are also peeking down from the gallery.

I am here in Salisbury for a friend’s straight wedding; I’m hoping it’s really fun.