Caught by the River

A Postcard from Sue Brooks

Sue Brooks | 21st December 2017

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.


Sue Brooks on Caught by the River