It is bright and early on Tuesday morning, and I am gathering my thoughts ready to face the day, happy with my efforts yesterday. I did two hefty stints of work on the orchestral piece, as a result of which is that there is now a strand running through the work from beginning to end, and the harmony is much more unified than it has previously been. At the moment the piece weighs in at nearly 11 minutes long, which I think is my longest single movement work. If my memory is right, Apart At The Seams for string trio, which I wrote a long time ago, is the previous holder of that distinction, coming in at 9 minutes, but that piece was in several different sections, whereas this one runs straight through from beginning to end in a single span. It is energetic too, so it does not rely on slow waftiness to make up time.

When complete it could function as an orchestral overture, I suppose, although it is hard to imagine where and when it might be played once its purpose as a competition entry has been served. Orchestras are hardly falling over themselves to commission works from me, but that’s something I intend to rectify, and I think that I just need to keep pushing and entering competitions. One of my orchestral works might be awarded one day, so I have to keep knocking at the door in the hope that one day it will open.

My mini concerto for oboe d’amore and string orchestra Intimations Of Immortality was highly commended in a competition once, but it’s the only one of my orchestral works to have achieved such a distinction. I haven’t been through my old manuscripts for a while, but I can’t imagine that the pieces I was writing in my 20s were as sound as the pieces I am writing now. Granted, it may sound like ego gone mad, but I do genuinely think that I am improving as a writer day by day, and part of that is the the ability to be highly self-critical and then to be able to find solutions to technical deficiencies, even though I know I still have a long way to go. Perhaps it is time to consider a publicity blitz for my orchestral music in the same way I am putting one together for my choral works. It would seem to make sense and, now that the idea has occurred to me, it seems strange that I haven’t thought of it before.

Today is going to be a fairly busy day, so, apart from sending off a competition entry, I am not envisaging doing much writing, although I am optimistic of doing some tinkering. As I’ve mentioned, yesterday was highly productive, and the gaping holes in my diary for the rest of the week promise more composing time to come. I know that I need to work to earn, and I enjoy my career, more so since I have left the teaching (permanently?) behind, but the composing desk is where I really yearn to be. It’s 08:19 – time to sharpen my pencil and get a few notes in before my duties begin.

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