Tuesday 3 October 2000
Alison and her dad, who’s a tireless supporter of the group, and generous source of accommodation for visiting musicians, dropped in last night to help me drink the bottle of champagne that Mr McFall’s Chamber had given me at the end of their sessions last week, kind souls that they are. And then an email arrived from Joanna Parker saying she’ll be in town next weekend playing in the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment (or Embezzlement as it’s usually known amongst musicians), so we can meet up.
It’s got very sociable all of a sudden – I’ve gradually got used to the fact that most of the band live hundreds or even thousands of miles away, so that casual encounters to talk shop or just to hang out don’t happen on the whole. Only two of the core group live within 50 miles of here, most live round about London where the nearest jobbing work playing on old instruments is, and Chris is 3000 miles away in Baltimore. It’s curiously artificial, but it’s also a necessity when what we do is so specialised. Other similar groups have the same problem: Andrew Lawrence-King’s group The Harp Consort are scattered all over Europe. But it’s always very gratifying when we get together and gel so quickly, as though we hadn’t been away.
The real down side is that for us to work at all is very expensive, as pretty much everyone has travel and accommodation expenses on top of our fees. I suppose we’re a ‘luxury item’. That’s why I like recording so much – you take an event that’s extremely costly, and by the end of the process a large number of people can buy it in a record shop for under fifteen quid, or hear it on the radio for free. Great.