Decamot of the month

03 Apr 2017-Concerto for Mother and Daughter

Rebecca’s mum popped the soiled nappy into the washing machine, glanced at her watch and wondered, not for the first time, how she was going to make it to the gym by 8.30.

Disruptions to her daily routine were not exactly uncommon but today’s interruption had been unusual even by her scatty standards. She told herself that it was all part of the creative process. Rebecca had woken up with a tune in her head. She didn’t know where it had come from but she spent 20 minutes between waking up and breakfast committing the notes to paper and playing them through on their keyboard. As she drove to David Lloyd’s in Weybridge, Kelda wondered about using the horn in the central passage and made a mental note to raise it before bedtime.

She was never going to be more than a recreational gymnast but it was a useful place for networking and in post Brexit Britain she knew the true value of pursuing an independent career based on flexible working. The life of a composer never could be a 9-5 occupation she told herself; unless you were lucky enough to be born into a wealthy family; but as her father used to say, come the revolution things might be different but until then you’re on your own kiddo!

The nanny had arrived at 8.00 to take charge of the domestics as the printer on the computer spewed out the results of their overnight efforts in the form of sheet music. Kelda was already having second thoughts about setting ‘Jonah and the Whale’ as a concerto for piano and orchestra but bringing up two children under five as a single Mum tended to generate its own priorities. Then again, as her father would say, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”

The hand on the station clock was hovering around the 8.25 mark as she cycled past. Again she found herself reflecting on her choice of an Old Testament story.

What had inspired Holst to write The Planets suite she thought? Alright, he was a paid up member of the Theosophical Society but that doesn’t automatically lead to musical inspiration does it? It has been suggested that Jupiter represents the prime of life which is why the central melody was later arranged to the words of “I Vow to Thee my country”. Frank Sinatra had a hit with Fly Me to the Moon by Bart Howard who rhymed Jupiter and Mars with “play among the stars”

Is it the words or the music that grab the attention or, as in the case of Frank Sinatra who contributed neither to one of his most successful songs, simply the performance?

The call from the BBC came mid-way through Kelda’s second Yoga class of the morning just as she was instructing her pupils on the spiritual benefits embedded in the Adho mukha svanasana pose. She apologised to her pupils and slipped into the admin office to take the call.

“Kelda Jackson?”

“Yes it is”

“I’m pleased to tell you that the judging panel has agreed that the outline of your operetta shows great promise and would like you and your co-writer to attend a feasibility workshop at the Westminster Plaza Hotel next week if you are free. They were particularly impressed with the originality of the music which manages somehow to bridge the gap between classical and modern. Clearly written by someone with an intimate knowledge of classical form but not afraid to push the boundaries.”

“What about the libretto?” said Kelda barely able to contain her excitement.

“That might need some work but that is what these sessions are for.”

Kelda smiled to herself and wondered what they would make of Rebecca who was only four years old.