I have spent the week down at Prussia Cove in Cornwall at the autumn IMS chamber music seminar, together with 50 musicians from around the world. We battle up and down the cliff paths against the wind. Musicians and their instrument cases loom out of the mist in the mornings.
It is always very interesting to play in chamber groups with a) new friends and b) old friends, but I find it almost as useful just to sit around in the dining room having one cup of coffee after another and talking to people about their lives as musicians. In the space of a short week I feel I store up lots of impressions and opinions to think about when I have more time.
Tonight at 7.30pm we are playing a concert in the church of St Pol de Leon in the village of Paul, near Penzance. If you are in the area, please think of coming along. On the programme is a Britten string quartet, a Brahms piano trio, some of Bach’s Goldberg Variations interspersed with music by Gyorgy Kurtag, and the Shostakovich piano quintet. This last is played by Leo Phillips, Olivia Hughes, Yura Lee, Steven Isserlis, and me.
On my way from Porth-en-Alls, the house where we rehearse and have our meals, to the cottage where I stay in Prussia Cove, I pass through the lovely old gate in the photo. There is often a very nice light in the lane beyond the gate, and the sight of the open gate can seem pleasantly symbolic.