Matthew Barley/Cellist

Music is well said to be the speech of Angels.

Thomas Carlyle

The Protecting Veil

Rehearsing today for The Protecting Veil, Tavener’s gigantic masterpiece for cello and string orchestra, I realised again just how much I love this piece. It is 45′ of continuous playing, and therefore exhausting, but that somehow amplifies the effect of a huge journey, undertaken at cost. The form is gratifyingly geometric, lots of symmetry, lots of repetition (although you wouldn’t immediately know that), and lots of unadulterated beauty. It’s the only piece in the ‘classical’ repertoire where I feel like I am improvising. So I can’t wait for the concert with the Royal Academy Strings, who sound magnificent under the highly skilled baton of Nicholas Collon, at Shoreditch Church, 9.30pm on Wednesday – the last concert I give as Associate Artist with the Spitalfields Festival.