As I was leaving the house, I grabbed my coat. The weather seemed undecided. It reminded me of Ireland, of home, four seasons in the space of an hour. I stepped onto the pavement and the door swung closed behind me. I sunk my hand into one of my coat pockets to deposit my house keys then rooted around and felt something way down in there. It was a pair of earplugs.
When an aspiring singer and the 19-year-old daughter of a musician friend of mine mentioned that she had never spent a penny on music in her entire life, I stopped what I was doing to listen. She quickly followed with the remark that she rarely listens to any song for more than 9 seconds unless its “really really good”. Her remark released a murmuration. I considered 9 seconds. Is it really possible to recognise a song and pass judgement on it in just 9 seconds?
13 March 2020: I remember standing on a street corner in a neighbourhood of Zurich with Lukas Bärfuss. The day had started off bright and sunny, and we had spent it working out details of a new collaboration. When it was time for me to return home, he accompanied me to the tram stop to make sure I caught the correct connection. We then noticed a never-ending stream of people walking, all in the same down-hill direction, all heading home to begin lockdown.
The first sounds after the most recent lockdown. An atelier on the other side of town. In it, an untuned piano, audience chairs stacked and dusty after a year of hibernation. An unedited rendition, not perfect in its delivery, but full of love and gratitude to make music with another musician after such a long time of separation. My playing is raw, in service to Beethoven and Vera, the pianist performing here. Full of love, and commitment, in resonance with one another, holding on to belief in music and people - that is what I feel we can and should offer music, our audiences, and ourselves. Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata, second movement, played with Vera Kooper in a music space in Biel, Switzerland on 13 March, exactly one year after my family and I went into lockdown.