Well, I'm back in the UK, it's raining, and it's time to share the third and final instalment of my Royaumont adventures.
The last week was challenging at times: my effort to escape emails and the real world finally collapsed, I exhausted the limitations of my French and the first tendrils of homesickness had started to creep in by about Wednesday. Of course, come Friday morning I was completely enamoured by the Abbey again and desperate to stay a few days longer but all good things must come to an end. The weekend offered eight concerts and some dance parties of truly epic proportions - so not a minute of the excellent music and company was wasted!
My coachings in week two focussed on studying microtonal music and the Aperghis Récitations, as well as expanding the horizons of my knowledge and identity as a performer of new music. I have had the Royaumont experience at such a formative point in my development, arriving with an open mind and bundles of enthusiasm - but no idea of where to direct this energy. The course has coaxed me towards crossing a line that I have only gingerly toed to this point. I finally feel brave enough to start exploring a 'first draft' of who I want to be as an artist, rather than always trying to please everyone else's musical tastes. From this impetus springs my 2017/18 listening project, which I will try and keep a track of here with thoughts and recommendations.
The other thing I will take away from Royaumont is some wonderful friends. They may mostly live several timezones away, but in them I found kindred spirits and I can only hope that yesterday was not the last goodbye.
It is always hard to judge whether you have had an experience at the right moment in your life. Without hindsight, it is often almost impossible. Royaumont has shown me that these really are the people I want to engage with in my professional life: I have been challenged to think, to create and to push myself beyond perceived limits. I have no doubt that there is much more to find in the musical life of Voix Nouvelles, and perhaps one day I will have the opportunity to discover this. Until then, I will return to reality with a new-found zest for feeding off the creativity of others, but also nurturing that experimental spirit in myself. From these seeds of imagination, let's see what happens!
To finish, a poem written during a brief wistful moment:
My heart across those fields would fly
To sit upon her throne
'neath aching sea, through sobbing sky
To see what once was home.