Flying visit to the Lakes

One of the great bonuses of this job is travelling to and performing in beautiful places; one of the great disadvantages is never having time to stay put and explore! Thus our visit to Penrith lasted not much more than twelve hours, and dreams of a lesirurely few days of fell-walking and pub lunches were dashed by commitments on either side…. However Marcus and I enjoyed performing for the Penrith Music Club, whose regular venue, the Methodist Church, was pleasingly warm on a cold January night! This was our first outing of Mahler's wonderful Rückert Lieder, which we paired with Schubert in the first half (a combination we're repeating in Brighton next week); switching to English in the second half, we revisited Turnage's Three Songs and then Britten's Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, which we're still discovering new things in two years after we first performed it.  A quick burst of rehearsal; a well-received performance; a short night with wonderful hosts (who apparently have a marvellous view which we never saw as it was dark when we arrived and dark when we left…); and then back on the road in time to coach at the Academy all afternoon and take a chorus rehearsal on the Peter Maxwell Davies opera in the evening. It was an unexpected surprise to have the composer himself turn up to the rehearsal! But a privilege to work through some of the music with him and to see him hear the music live (rather than in his head) for the very first time!