From 4.OOpm this afternoon is the annual Cambridge Clarinets weekend – a professional engagement which over some 14 years has grown into a tradition where 12 entusiastic clarinettists gather together to be coached by Geraldine and conducted by me. It is an occasion which has given us all so much over the years. Yes, the purpose of the weekend is to play as much as possible and we manage to get in around 20 hours and in the course of that to explore a fair bit of new music – we usually have a newly commissioned work or arrangement to tackle; but it is also a meeting of hearts and souls – we share a lot, debate endlessly, laugh copiously and sometimes shed a tear or two – all the stuff of humanity which is very heartening and, again, it happens because of the music. We see each other in this grouping, only on this one occasion each year, but when we meet, we just pick up where we left off – there is a flow, a continuum and no awkwardness. The theme this year is breathe, listen, feel and Geraldine and I have been preparing thoughts and ideas which embrace golden section, fibonacci, zen and other spiritual origins. Geraldine in particular has been writing her own approach to playing the clarinet and this is going to appear in instalments on tutti over the coming weeks. Cambridge Clarinets will be the test-bed for this and no doubt they will have a lot to say about it. There is plenty of clarinet music on tutti, so there will be lots of references to useful resources for musicians. Keep an eye out. Hope you have as passionate a weekend as we do – I’ll blog about it next week.