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Diary entry 5 November Arthurian Splendour
5 November 2000
My Russian friend asked me to start and end her wedding reception with Tchaikovsky's Sentimental Waltz. The Dover edition of his piano works also contained beautiful pieces from The Seasons. When I returned from Arundel yesterday, I played through the entire book for an hour. Afterwards, I sightread piano transcriptions of more popular tunes. I was inspired by the vastness of the South Downs and the music of the old masters.
After thirteen hours of beauty sleep, I woke up wanting to play some more. My piano was much nicer than the old Steinway Grand at Amberley Castle where the wedding reception was held the day before. I started playing a familiar tune, St Valentine's which I had complosed in February 1997. This time, however, I wanted to simplify.
What title shall I give it? Arundel is an ancient town, perched on a hill in the southern tip of England. In 1998 I had spent the night there, after its charm had refused to let me go. My friend had arranged a traditional wedding ceremony in the old church of Arundel castle. The pastor told me it was built in 1380, upon the ruins of an even earlier church.
The wedding party moved to the 13th century Amberley Castle nearby. The sun had come out for this very special occasion - an oasis in the terrible storms that had flooded England lately. Luckily there were enough roads to take us to the now privately owned Amberley Castle. If not for the Russian, American, and Dutch accents, I would have easily mistakened this for a trip back in time.
The pastor had said,"You have something nobody else in the world has. You have each other." Yes, indeed, what present shall I give to Elena and Chris? It's so easy to call up the designer cutlery ware and charge my credit card to a gift. But will it last? Will they remember what a special day it was - for them - and for myself?
No, I shall not do what other guests have done. Instead, I spent today composing this piano solo piece - which conjures up Tchaikovsky and all other sentimental pieces I played yesterday at Arundel.
Photos updated 30 April 2001