I went to a wonderful concert last night  — Haydn and Mozart chamber music on original instruments.  I don’t see (hear) nearly enough classical music live, it seems to slip below films and theatre and hanging around doing not very much, but the amazing violinist of this group, Catherine Manson, also happens to be a friend so I had an excuse.








We went backstage afterwards and I was thinking that this must be what it’s like to perform Hamlet twice in one day (there was an afternoon concert as well).

How on earth do you do it, I asked, when I should have been thinking up more ecstatic words for the quality of the playing.

My friend laughed.

I start at the top of the page and just play like mad till I run out of notes, said she.

Which was the nicest, truest, most modest thing I’ve heard in ages, and I won’t even mention that it’s the same with writing books, only with words instead of notes.



4 thoughts on “Violinist gives capsule masterclass on writing.

  1. Bazza 7 years ago

    Isn’t she blessed to be comfortable in her position and to be so modest?
    I once went backstage to an actor friend who is quite well-known. I said light heartedly I thought it must have been a stretch playing a Manchester ‘lad’ (which is what he is). Later I was told it would have killed him inside to hear that. Oops. I did notice Alan Rickman glare at me. Such fragile egos!

  2. Jan Carr 7 years ago

    Real wisdom is simple, isn’t it? (I’m listening to your friend Catherine and the rest of the London Haydn Quartet playing right now.) You start and you finish and the key to the doing of it in between, is you do it ‘like mad’.

  3. Antony John 7 years ago

    I wonder if there’s something to the fact that musicians “play” their instruments, rather than “perform” on them. It’s a much less self-conscious process, and one that emphasizes fun. I sometimes feel that my writing is going best when I can say the same thing.

  4. Henrietta Richer 7 years ago

    Re. Having Fun – Two years ago I re-started painting and drawing classes. It’s fun and play. I love it. Writing fiction on the other hand isn’t. I’m too self conscious and critical. I think I should stop being ‘a writer’, but it has been my sole ambition, or perhaps fantasy, since childhood. I’m in one of those “Why f**** bother”. Your words of wisdom are welcome, thanks.

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