Another Cerne Abbas festival has come to an end. Remembering last year’s dreadful weather, during which one of the group had to drive to Dorchester to buy some thermal undergarments, I had packed some rather warm concert clothes, which I regretted as soon as I realised how sunny this year’s festival was going to be. In the event I was overdressed and boiling hot in most of the concerts, especially the daytime concerts, when the sun was streaming through the clear glass window behind us, making me feel as if I were positioned under a laser.
I especially enjoy seeing the same people in the audience year after year. And this year was unexpectedly enjoyable for me as a pianist because the piano, which I have been playing at this festival for years, had undergone a major refurbishment at Steinway’s since I last played it. As a result it felt and sounded like a different piano. I relished hearing the newly mellow, rounded tones resonating across the church. Sometimes, when I was playing something by myself, I even held certain notes or chords longer than I had planned to, just for the pleasure of hearing the singing tone as it hung in the air. The purity of my interpretation was corrupted by sensuality!
After such an intense week, with seven completely different concerts in four days, I felt quite depleted. This kind of exhaustion is a curious sensation, because although I feel mentally up to the task of so much playing, my body lets me know that it’s been quite a strain. The spirit is willing, etc! I was mostly silent on the journey home, and went to bed early.