Steady progress

It was a good start to the week. I managed to run through a couple of decent stints on the symphony, which meant that the first two movements were orchestrated in draft form by Tuesday lunchtime, and by Wednesday I was already pushing on deep into the third movement. At this rate there really is the possibility that the piece might finally be done by the end of the year, which, I must admit, will be something of a relief after so long. I am happy with the way that it is shaping up, even if there are still several rough edges to sort out, but it is definitely far closer to being finished than being started, and that is undeniably light at the end of the tunnel.

By one of those strange coincidences that sometimes happen, a member of Parliament Choir happened to be in Cork a couple of weeks ago and heard another performance of my award-winning (yes, I am still using that phrase!) Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Bb at the Cathedral there, which was great news, as it definitely shows that the piece has entered their repertoire. I would love for it to do the same elsewhere, but, as always, it seems to be tricky to build up that kind of momentum. Still, you never know.

By the middle of the week I had managed to get the final details into place on my new setting of O Nata Lux, and by Friday evening it was already being rehearsed in the hope of a first performance some time later this year. At present the score is under wraps, as the commissioner and their choir quite rightly have first dibs on performing it, but it should be available for general perusal some time in the middle of next year. Perhaps at this point it is worth pointing out again that many of my scores are available for free download on my website, and that even the ones that are not yet listed can usually be obtained if you drop me a message.

I have never been one for standing in the way of trying to get my music out there, which means that I have taken a slightly unusual approach to things over the years. Part of this has been due to many unsatisfactory dealings with prospective publishers, but most of it has been the product of my idea that getting my pieces performed is far more important than selling copies of the music. Also, back in the day I would have had to sort out the whole printing process myself, which simply takes more time away from writing, and nowadays people can go online (or, indeed, ask me to go online) and deal with all the bits and pieces instead. So, as ever, if you want to have a look, it is usually available.

By the time Sunday evening had rolled around, after a day of music-making, I was optimistic of being able to get onto the final movement of the symphony by the middle of the next week. This process is taking less time than I had feared, and certainly far less time than writing the thing in the first place, and it has actually been quite refreshing to revisit the piece and hear the influences of other composers here and there, Sibelius in particular over the past few days. I hope that in the end it will sound like me, however, and that those influences and ideas that have permeated into the work from the minds of other composers might come out of the mill with my personal stamp upon them. At least I know that every decision I make, every point where there is a split in the pathway and I could take this or that direction, will make the piece more my own, the difference between a symphony by me and the same music written by somebody else.

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