Last night the Royal Philharmonic Society announced their 2009 awards for music. One result that I found particularly pleasing was the Creative Communication Award to Alex Ross for his book The Rest is Noise, which has already won the Guardian First Book Award. I gave the book to Bob for Christmas, and ever since then he has been quoting lines and descriptions from it. He says that Alex Ross has an extraordinary gift for the telling word at the right moment.
Last night, by chance, I was playing a concert with the Gaudier Ensemble. Our programme included Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time. I had been asked to say a few words about the piece before we played it, and so I had been doing some background research. From all the things I’d looked up, I’d chosen to print out a New Yorker article on this very piece by Alex Ross, and I had tucked into my copy of the score last night so that I could re-read it just before I walked on stage. So it was good to end the evening by hearing news of his RPS award.