For a long time I have wanted to write something for piano quintet, a medium which has given me such pleasure as a performer and a listener. I thought this would be the perfect project for Civitella Ranieri: it would need none of the meetings which attend my usually collaborative work. I didn’t realize that starting a new piece in this beautiful seclusion would expose all the difficulties of beginning, the challenges of the blank page; initially I was envious of those who arrived with their work already begun. But, as the new piece very gradually and sometimes painfully took shape, I came to appreciate that in this unique space – supported by Fellow-artists, with everything practical taken care of – it was possible to sit with the difficulties, and work through them, instead of finding easy shortcuts and expedient solutions. I leave with some music that feels new and surprising to me – but more importantly, with a new understanding of what I am doing, and a different approach which I hope will lead to a deepening and enriching of my instrumental work for years to come.