Yesterday was a day off, apart from a dab of post-Grand Prix teaching in the afternoon, so I did no composing work. It’s only fair to have a day off a week, though, so I’m not too worried that I’ve suddenly given up the ghost. I did get less writing done last week than I would have liked, however, so I have been attacking my orchestral piece with some enthusiasm today.

In fact, enthusiasm is not too wide of the mark as a description. It’s far from being a great piece, but I am enjoying writing it, for once, and learning new things about my style every few minutes or so. I’ll encounter some kind of problem and realise how to get around it, always being aware that it is knowledge I’ll have to take to my next piece, else this one will be too stylistically disparate. Having said that, my approach to the work has changed significantly since I started writing it and I think the piece is much better as a result.

It looks like being a quiet week in terms of ‘proper’ work, so I am hoping to have more than enough time to hammer out the details on this latest effort. I looked at my writing schedule the other day and realised that I have given myself more time to finish this piece than I had previously thought. I was under the impression that I needed to get it finished by the end of the month, but I have a deadline of 10th October, which gives me a lot of breathing space, especially as most of the first draft is in place, and several sections are on to version two or even three. The plan is therefore to finish and refine the notes as much as possible until sometime next week and then spend seven days or so writing out the orchestration. This should not take too much time, as ideas for instrumentation are sketched into my working score at the moment, so it should be a fairly simple matter of transcribing and working around any technical problems.

Once that is done I will need to get to work on the existing sketches for a choral commission. Writing for competitions keeps me putting notes on paper, but paid commissions will always rise to the top of my ‘to do’ list. It is only going to be a short piece, but it’s still important to get the details as right as I can and make sure that it fits the choir as well as possible.

I plan on spending another session on the orchestral work this afternoon, and then putting the final touches to my latest competition submission. There’s a surprising amount of admin involved in being a composer these days, but our world is so much more connected than it was even twenty years ago that, for all the intrusion emails and the like can bring, the possibilities offered are literally global.

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