The opera-lovers may recognise the quotation (from Montagu Slater’s libretto for Peter Grimes, music by Benjamin Britten) and this post is slightly off-beam but a short reflection from horseback this morning.
Max and I have had a quiet few months, punctuated by some really inspiring lessons, putting homework into practice and then the odd naff ride (bad/four feet off the ground/too short/whatever) and it’s felt sometimes like being a bad owner/rider because work has overwhelmed the schedule. None of that matters in the long run and some perspective always helps.
I’ve said before how much I value the location of Max’s yard and the hacking which gives us amazing views of rolling landscape in this relatively* flat county – over the river to Kent is a heck of a view – especially when work keeps me on a short three-point line, but work has also involved a fun excursion into another part of England that I really love, over on the West side. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a Suffolk-Essex boy through and through and like Britten and his antihero Peter Grimes feel anchored here in East Anglia, but the chance to work on and perform ‘On Wenlock Edge’ a work for tenor, strings, and piano with poems by A E Housman has taken me across to the less coastal land of Bredon Hill and The Wrekin. Exploring the poetry that belongs to a landscape can reveal a lot about a person and their relationship to it as well as to the natural setting itself and the illuminating music by Ralph Vaughan Williams helps conjure those outer and inner landscapes well, especially the heat haze on Bredon Hill. * = get a bike out and see how flat it really isn’t…
I’m looking forward to the end of choir term and a change of pace, and spending more time with Max and perhaps getting out around more of the Essex countryside! There are vague plans around competition and hopefully we’ll get to do some fun things; most gratifying is the feeling that despite the amount of work v the amount of time spent in the saddle, Max and I are really starting to pull together and it’s good to know that maybe it’s working out better than I think on the days when everything gets so much. Finding out that your plans have worked out when you thought that they hadn’t is the opposite of both ‘Peter Grimes’ and ‘On Wenlock Edge’ but for myself from an anxious moment on Wednesday morning fearing that it had all gone wrong to feeling in control and prepared after all is quite energising!
I’m looking forward to spending time on the piano this evening, making music with some very fine musicians (and after all it keeps Max in shoes and everything else), and exploring more landscapes: we’ll be sure to share the journeys here.