Being involved in the creation of this CD has been fascinating. After Victoria Soames Samek first suggested that she wanted to record a selection of my pieces (and I had got over the initial excitement) we had to decide what should go in. We thought a mixture of clarinet and piano pieces, and some of my many smaller chamber works (those that include clarinet) would make an interesting collection. Next the recording. Victoria chose the studio at Keele University which is very spacious and quiet. The three recording days began at about 8.30am and ended about 2.30am (!) I don't think I've ever met anyone with as much stamina as Victoria. I either sat in the studio (with the brilliant producer, Simon Weir) making the odd comment about tempi or did some page turning - and felt quite guilty at what an easy time I was having. Then, some months later, with all the hard work having been done by Victoria's production team at Clarinet Classics, I was simply asked to write some notes for the booklet. The completed CD finally popped through my letterbox about a week ago.
Recording The Unhappy Aardvark was particularly interesting. Though you wouldn't believe it listening to the final performance, the narration and the music were recorded separately. I met up with Robert Hardy and we went to a small recording studio near Oxford where he often records 'talking books'. He made three recordings of the words - each in a slightly different style. The eventual marriage of words and music work perfectly.
As I explain in the liner notes, most music I write is for particular friends, pupils or events. There is one work on the CD which has very poignant connections - and that is the Six Clerihew Songs, written for my friend the great clarinettist Duncan Prescott who died so suddenly last year. I think he would have enjoyed this performance.