I always get slightly angsty if I don’t write on a regular basis, but, having said that, composition as a whole is not always the most creative of processes. Personally I find the writing of the piece, the creation of something hopefully worthwhile from nothing, to be the most satisfying part of the journey, even if it can be hard and frustrating work at times, difficult to see exactly where you are going. Once you have the bulk of the piece in place and are working on the details you have effectively moved from inspiration to perspiration, and, at least until the end is in sight, it can be quite easy to find other things to do unless you are hard up against a deadline. The final part of the process – editing, tidying and setting – is something I quite enjoy, and I don’t miss having a publisher that much, and sometimes wonder whether, in this connected day and age, we would feel the need to invent them if they didn’t already exist.
I’m definitely into the middle phase of the above three with Through The Fair as the orchestration rumbles on. The piece is effectively written and the addition of the orchestral instruments is akin in some ways to adding colour to a black and white sketch. Make no mistake, I love writing for the orchestra, and think I’m not too shabby at it, but all those empty staves make it feel like a never ending journey at times, and, of course, one has to imagine what it will sound like, not having one’s own orchestra to hand.
The size of the orchestra for this piece, and the fact that I’ve spent some time with them recently, is good news, especially the latter. It’s no coincidence that the greatest orchestrators were also strongly linked with conducting, and time spent in the front line with the players is worth more than any text book can give you, once you know the very basics.
So, the upshot is that, despite a busy week in terms of other commitments, I still managed to sneak in a quick hour of writing today, and the first of the three folk songs is finished in its basic orchestration. I’ll be trying to get this piece finished very soon, as it’s already slipped far behind its original schedule, but not to worry, it’s August, and the world of the freelancer is relatively quiet. Perfect conditions for applying pencil to paper, or, at the moment, mouse to computer.