Bring the Lake District into the concert hall! The challenge – issued by the BBC Philharmonic's general manager Richard Wigley to the composer Maurizio Malagnini – sounds startling at the very least. Its result, though, is a new concert suite, Running in the Clouds, commissioned by BBC Radio 3, and receiving its world premiere tomorrow.
The suite's basis is the race known as the Bob Graham Round, and especially the achievements of Joss Naylor, shepherd and record-breaking fell-runner. The Bob Graham Round entails scaling 42 peaks in 24 hours, with an ascent of about 28,500 feet and a total distance of approximately 74 miles.
"Meeting Joss Naylor was inspiring," says Malagnini, who hails from Bergamo in Italy and had never previously visited the Lake District. "Talking to him, I understood the wisdom that nature can give to people who are able to listen to its voice, and the dialogue they experience with the landscape. The rocks welcome you when you're running."
As the music is the last element to be added to any film, the work can be desperately intense: "Sometimes, I have to work without a break for 30 hours or more, so I feel very sympathetic towards the runners," he comments.
The BBC Philharmonic's world premiere of 'Running in the Clouds', Westmorland Hall, Kendal (01539 722533) tomorrow. The concert is broadcast live on BBC Radio Cumbria