Did you just say "right up in my grill"?

Ha-ha. Caught! Red-handed. Recently, whilst showing two splendid friends from the Minnesota Orchstra round London during their European tour, I am asked to clarify my position upon using the phrase "right up in my grill". With teasing incredulity, they question the authenticity, perhaps one could even say the veracity behind my use of this phrase in their company, indeed in that location. Much merriment ensues. However, upon reflection, I feel compelled to share this learning experience, by publishing the following caveat: "My fellow Britishers - 20p's worth of advice for 10...Do not seek to casually absorb the American vernacular. It will come back and bite you on the ass."

That aside, adventures continue apace, with a searingly and subtle world premiere in Kurt Schwertsik's new marimba concerto. "Now you hear me, Now you don't" is the modest title behind this most charming yet capricious of pieces. Gorgeous melodic lines scamper along, whilst the harmonic language rears its pointed, rebellious fangs. A true treat for the ears, ear candy - dare we mention that word...fun!?! And as ever the beloved and beautiful Scottish Ensemble in full flow - one of life's greatest rewards, and world champion interpreters of Stravinsky's "Apollo" as well!

Preparation has also begun for Einojuhani Rautavaara's new concerto, for premiere in the Autumn with the London Philharmonic. Robust and thrilling, this concerto will be a very intense and absorbing work. My continued good wishes and respect to Mr Rautavaara, who, having just turned 80 continues to compose such generous and great music.

But now, gearing up for a long US trip, I travel there with re-newed caution as to what extent I should/can hope to integrate into their spoken-word culture. Yessir, this Limey is mighty proud to be returning to your home soil!

Or something...