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Hertfordshire Festival of Music

Somehow a switch has been flicked and busy musical life has restarted, who knows for how long. Many things still seem surreal - the start of my journey as the only passenger on the Waterloo&City Line on a Friday rush hour for instance. Stepping into the completely empty train on a darkened platform seemed rather Jean Paul Sartre-ish. But it was good to be back, trundling off to Hertford, another intriguingly historic place I'd never visited before.

Arriving at the opening concert of Hertfordshire Festival of Music, in the fine acoustic of St Andrew's Church, I was struck at how electronic aids to concert-giving (check-in via an app, programme download on our phones) would have seemed like science fiction a couple of years ago in a nice old church like this, but now seem (fairly) normal already. A sold-out concert is also foreseeable with distancing in place, but anyway that's what this was , with an appreciative audience for a one-hour programme which would be repeated later in the evening. This also is presently the norm, and I don't hear anyone complaining that the concerts are "too short".

Friendly festival directors Tom Hammond and James Francis Brown have done a great thing in getting this ambitious local festival into action the moment it was possible. As this year's featured composer (postponed from being last year's featured composer) I had the pleasure of hearing the excellent Albion Quartet, play my Quartet, after Haydn's unbeatable op 20/4. I will be trundling back a couple of times next week.

*Author's note: while putting this entry online, I notice that it's my 400th posting on this site, which was set up just under seven years ago. Doesn't time fly, etc etc. Many thanks to patient readers and especially to the website's brilliant creator, Kate Johnson.





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