I’m down by the sea in Prussia Cove in Cornwall, at the autumn chamber music seminar of the International Musicians’ Seminar, from which I have had an unaccountably long break. I remember thinking I’d have a little rest from it for a year or two. All of a sudden it was about fifteen years later, and when I arrived here last weekend, people kept saying scary things like ‘I’ve been coming every year for fourteen years, and I’ve never met you before.’
Fortunately Prussia Cove has been remarkably resistant to the march of time. The cottages where musicians live, and the rooms where we rehearse, looked exactly as I remembered them. My hands seemed to recall the way to turn the tricky door handles. My feet seemed to remember the bumps in the lane, the little paths out to the rocky ridges from which you can look over the bay to St Michael’s Mount. Even the beach of round stones, which I wrote about in ‘Out of Silence’, looks undisturbed.
Last night the sky was clear, and as there are no lamp-posts or lights along any of the paths, the darkness at night is profound. To everyone’s amazement, we could see thousands of stars. In fact, the Milky Way was clearly visible. We turned our torches off and made our way back to the cottages in deep darkness, marvelling at the densely packed heavens above us. I’m ashamed to say that the star-filled sky was a sight I hadn’t seen for some years.
If anyone reading this lives near Truro, do come along to tonight’s concert (Friday 14 September) in Truro School Chapel . The first half of the programme contains chamber works by Martinu, Howells and Faure. In the second half, along with Bogdan Bozovic, Elisabeth Smalt and Anita Leuzinger, I’ll be playing in the Dvorak D major piano quartet.