What is it about the human voice that captivates in both composition and performance? Yes, I know, I am trying to deflect your inevitable comment that I was supposed to have written about the Summer Sing two Wednesdays ago, that’s two whole Wdnesdays or 8 days – a lifetime to the dedicated blogger. My defence as always is that life got in the way, and really there can be no better impediment to writing about life than life itself. Hmm, this is clearly going to be one of those philosophical ones! OK, you ask (or maybe you don’t!) which bits of life? Diary says (that’s an oblique reference to Little Britain for the uninitiated) Norfolk – and it would be right! Norfolk is a hideaway which belongs to my brother Nick who is an equestrian (not a note of music in his entire being, bless ‘im) and deeply involved with the 2008 para-olympics in Hong Kong. Norfolk is so utterly different from what our lives constitute most of the time that it is always a glorious and most welcome entr’acte. We live simply, eat simply, drink simply too much, walk miles, visit some of the most extraordinary churches these Isles have to offer and even bird watch. Well here’s a thing. While walking from Hardley to Chedgrave and back, a distance of a little more than 8 miles (that’s nearly 13 kilometres to our continental neighbours) and visiting St Margaret’s Hardley which is little changed from its Norman beginnings and All Saints Chedgrave which provided a welcome cuppa, we dropped off at the bird hide by Hardley Flood. What do you think we found there? You would never guess so don’t even try . . . A memorial plaque to Olivier Messiaen. The inside of the hide has a row of little brass plaques which commemorate all sorts and conditions of men and women who liked the locale, were ardent bird-watchers, had made an impression on the dedicator’s life or were simply nice people and in amongst them all was one Olivier M. to whom bird song had meant so much as a composer. I took a photograph and felt warmed! I know this started out as a eulogy to the human voice . . . it has got lost somewhere along the way and turned out to be not so philosophical after all. Bird song, human voice, creative inspiration, memories – there are bound to be 101 connections. Much to my surpise, we have not a drop of Messiaen on tutti, neither sheet music nor recordings, BUT we do have a rather good work for meultiple double basses, called, Bird, Lake, Stone, River by composer Michael Hynes . . . “atmospheric stillness and calm. An ethereal soundworld . . .” saith the blurb.