Thus begins the famous hymn by Reginald Heber. The climate of the British Isles, by contrast, is officially described as “temperate” – and there’s a reason for this! The British summer is hit and miss at best and downright gloomy the rest of the time. Not a lover of hot, sultry weather myself however, this suits me perfectly. But when the hot weather does hit, what does a young(ish) English composer do? – He sets up his “summer studio” in the coolness of his basement – and if this isn’t enough he takes a sea voyage on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth to explore Iceland and the Arctic Circle. And this is just what he did!
It’s good to be reminded what a power of good a complete break from one’s day to day existence does to refresh the mind, body and soul. There was little time to compose on board the Queen Elizabeth but the scenery of Iceland’s rugged fjords was certainly inspiring and the experience has left me refreshed and ready to embark upon new compositional projects (which I will talk about in my next post).