Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

Victor Hugo

Canada, Maps

I’d never heard of the Lanaudiere Festival, but it’s obviously a big one – the biggest in Canada it would seem! Tomorrow I’ll be performing The Map, which is Tan Dun’s (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon film score, and countless brilliant concert works), enormous cello concerto, for cello, video and orchestra. It’s a tribute his native Hunan province in China and the riches of the indigenous musicians he found there, with whom I duet; them on screen and me listening and watching like mad to try and catch their idiosyncratic timing!

Today I had a day off, so I hired a car and bought a map, and headed up to the mountains. It’s unbelievably beautiful here: after dinner at an Auberge called La Montagne Coupée, I stood on a viewing platform gazing at the hills, listening to the most incredible performances by dozens of birds at twilight. If mine is half as beautiful tomorrow night, I’ll be a happy man.