A Mischievous Muse & Maritime Rites
To the Australian High Commission for the launch of Anthony Meredith & Paul Harris’s biography of my late friend, composition tutor and mentor Malcolm Williamson, A Mischievous Muse. From what I have read so far, it’s a terrific book, and it’s fascinating to get to know the person I knew so well in some ways, but so little in others.
Malcolm wrote wonderful letters, and lots of them, all of which I kept because they meant a lot to me, and because I hoped that one day someone would write a biography of Malcolm which would do him and his music justice, at which point I’d hand them over. This is definitely the book – Anthony & Paul have done a terrific job – and I’m glad I didn’t hesitate to let them have the letters. The book launch was packed, and the affection & respect for Malcolm was palpable. He would have loved it. Wherever his spirit is now, I am sure it’s rejoicing.
After that, I cycled down to the Tate Modern to experience Alvin Curran’s Maritime Rites.
I would have run a mile from something like this normally, but the idea of a composition which involved the bells of St Pauls & passing foghorns is just the right kind of Weird for me, especially as I love that bit of the river almost more than anywhere in London. It was mindblowing. It was as if everything within a miles radius – me, the bells, birds, people, river, buildings & music from the barge in the river and the platform on the lawns outside the Tate – was suddenly just One Thing, whose nature I had never experienced before. And oddly, you can’t take it away with you afterwards – the only place where you can experience that music is exactly where it was. A great antidote to the world of scores and recordings, repeat performances and insular listening.