I’ve been listening to Horatio Clare on Radio 3 ( Bach Walks – 5 x 30 minutes, December 19 – 24 ) and it’s a marvellous antidote to the Christmas frenzy. He’s following the route Bach may have taken in 1705 aged 20, to hear his hero Dietrich Buxtehude play the organ in a church in Lubeck. 250 miles walking north in December.
The timing is perfect. Radio 3 have been celebrating Bach all this week, the last one in Advent, and making a feature of Slow Radio. What could be better than a journey accompanied by Bach’s music? I’m sure it will rise to a crescendo on Saturday night when he arrives at the appointed place.
Horatio has a wonderful radio voice. He cajoles the microphone, he whispers and sometimes leaps. He stops to listen to a blackbird, or admire a silver birch. I’m standing with him on top of the Harz mountains covered in snow, looking at the view. It’s a conversation with himself and the landscape and the listener, with longish periods of the sound of walking; footfalls and breathing. Slow Radio. It sounds boring but it’s anything but. He wants to get closer to the mind and sensibilities of the composer. Is this solitary pilgrimage a turning point in his life? Will there be a revelation in Lubeck?
Such a brilliant Radio 3 idea and no one better than Horatio to carry it through. Something to have in store for the quiet time between Christmas and New Year perhaps? Happy Solstice.