At this morning's Cheltenham Festival recital by the Carducci Quartet, I sat next to a Sixth Form pupil from Dean Close: it is the quartet-in-residence there, a great boost to the school's budding string players, much as the Tewkesbury Abbey "residency" is for the school's young singers.
The programme included the European premier of a Festival commission, Arlene Sierra's Insects in Amber. I am not greatly in favour of programme music, such as this was, but I have certainly endured less pleasant quarters of an hour at previous Festval premiers. The performances of Shostakovich's 8th Quartet and Dvořák's American were excellent, and sent me off in a good humour.
Normally, we are in the cheap seats at the back of the hall - excellent acoustics there - but today I was able to sit close enough to take a photograph (at the end of the new work) because we were the guests of the Summerfield Charitable Trust: it had made the Quartet a grant in the past. The Trust was launching an initiative, seeking to add to its endowment by entertaining a cross-section of the town's lawyers and accountants, so we all went on to a jolly lunch in the Royal Box at Cheltenham Racecourse - one of the perks from Edward Gillespie having taken over as the Trust's Chairman.