It’s a year to the day since one of my oldest friends passed away, a sober reminder not just of the cruel vagaries of fate but also the swiftness of time’s passage. Tessa was a dedicated paediatric research nurse, latterly becoming manager of the Oxford Vaccine Group, responsible for vitally important clinical trials across a range of diseases. Having devoted her professional life to helping others, and much of her personal life to raising four young children, she died from lung cancer aged 37, having never smoked. Superlatives tend to abound when talking of the recently departed, I realise, but she genuinely was the most selfless person I ever met. And as long as beautiful souls such as hers are snatched away while narcissistic bullies twice her age remain unaccountably alive and kicking, I will never be able to believe in any even remotely benevolent force in the universe.
Tessa’s husband Owain and dear friend Ali are fundraising in her memory – details here. My own (far less brave) response was to dedicate a short piece to her; it was premiered in November, and while I can’t share the recording at present, here’s the score, should anyone know any viol players (!) looking for new repertoire. It’s not easy, but was written on the guitar so should fit under the fingers nicely enough.
Well, two years after the premiere and with no word of any forthcoming repeat performances, I’ve taken the bull by the horns and ‘recorded’ the piece myself using a rather good sample library I came across. Something about the instrument’s flatness, and its lack of vibrato, makes its sampled version more convincing than those of other string instruments, I feel. It’s at least a pretty decent placeholder until a proper recording takes place. Check it out here.