A Living Portrait of Earth

The last note of this year’s tour sounded on Saturday (December the 3rd), which brings to a close this year of music. I’m back at home in Scotland. The wind is enfolding the house and singing down the chimney.

I managed to walk before dark. The most enchanting light sat above the western forests; a colour that was somewhere between blue, yellow and the silver of frost. A vast length of cloud, whipped into patterns by the high winds, was draped lengthways from the south. Emblazoned with orange light, it was suspended there like a bright barrier between the risen half-moon and the sun that, although vanished from the land, was still etched upon those highest clouds. Stars were appearing and the plough hung faint just above the forests to the north.

I was considering a new collection of music, making plans in my head for completing it, recording it, and how to release it into the world. As my focus was shifting forward into all this I caught myself and stopped. This year marked a big change in my musical life. I have performed thirty concerts since March, which is more than I’ve ever performed before. It has been a rich year with almost a year of preparations leading up to it and five years of composing the music before that. Like a chapter in a book it has marked a stage of my life. Perhaps it could even be likened to an entire book, with a beginning, a middle and an end. So it occurred to me suddenly that it might be a bit rushed, almost a bit disrespectful, to move in my mind to other things, to be looking forward so soon. Our culture sometimes expects constant movement and sometimes situations allow for little else. But here I was walking under a heavenly sky, a living ‘Portrait of Earth’, with time and space. If I can allow myself an opportunity to be quiet for a few days, to reflect on the year, all those notes I sounded in silent halls, the people I met after the concerts, the travelling to new towns and cities, the rich tapestry of experience that I was fortunate enough to have, then I think those experiences are honored and absorbed. It feels almost like I want to give it time to settle, to ‘digest’, to mark the year as something valuable in itself, a chapter in my life.

So I hope by writing this blog I have started to do just that. With thirty concerts sitting so close behind me I have plenty to be reflecting on. And in time, when it calls for it, the next project will begin.

Alexander Chapman Campbell