Wednesday’s Parliament Choir concert at Westminster Central Hall was certainly entertaining, although I fear that the moment most people will remember was the organ breaking at the end of Widor’s Toccata. I should point out now that I was not in physical contact with the instrument at this point, neither was I playing the Widor, so I’d like to think that this event happened without any of my input. Apart from this ill-timed inconvenience, the concert ran very well, despite a rather frantic couple of rehearsals, the kind of things that are pretty much inevitable when different forces with different timetables are coming together.
Sweet Was The Song sounded really rather lush in its new orchestral arrangement, and Silent Night worked as well – both pieces seem to have been genuinely enjoyed by those present, and John Suchet, who was introducing the concert, managed to sneak in some rather complimentary remarks about me and my music. I particularly liked being compared to a long-haired, bearded medieval musician.
The acoustic in the hall is quite difficult, and presents significant problems to the performers, but I think that soloists, choir and orchestra gave good accounts of themselves. The applause at the end was genuinely enthusiastic, and I hope that this will turn into the annual event Classic FM and we would like it to be. As John Suchet remarked, the concert will be broadcast “almost in its entireity” on Christmas Eve, most likely sans post-Widor kerfuffle…
On Thursday the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir performed Sweet at their carol concert in St. Peter’s, Eaton Square, although I was not there due to other excitements. I also had it confirmed a couple of days ago that the carol will be aired at the carol service at St. Columba’s, Pont Street on Sunday, under the direction of David Terry, also a pretty handy composer. That now brings the total performances of that work up to 4 this week alone, quite exciting.
The enormity of Wednesday’s concert has really towered above everything else of late, especially when one considers the writing and arranging I have had to do in conjunction with it. My remaining carol services are pretty much of the turn-up-and-play variety, which will hopefully be much less stressful. I have really noticed of late that the frantic allotting of time which has happened during Advent year upon year has faded away, to the extent that I am able to get my work done and still have a little time to relax, and this can be no bad thing.
I have missed a couple of blog entries though, because on Thursday I managed to land squarely on my head in a high-speed ice-related accident. Fortunately some medics were on me straight away, but I took a hefty blow and am a little surprised that I didn’t do myself very significant damage or worse. I have felt generally together since then, and I managed to play reasonably well for a carol service yesterday (including another performance of Sweet Was The Song), but I am still a little shaken, and cannot decide whether I am either making a mountain out of a molehill or instead have had a very lucky escape. I certainly intend to go on breathing and writing for a good few years yet, so I would have been significantly annoyed to have damaged myself. Clearly my stars were aligned in the right way.
In terms of composition, at the moment I seem to be knee-deep in administration, sending out copies of Sweet, Silent Night and even Distracted Tymes. I am also receiving several kind comments about my carols, and have decided that I shall begin publicising them in earnest slightly earlier next year. However, I really must get back to some decent writing soon. I know that this is a busy time of year, but I should be striving to get at least a little something down on paper each day if I am not to lose momentum. Once I have pencil to paper I feel as if I am in my natural element, even though it can sometimes be frustrating when wrestling with problems, and I need to learn to accept that five minutes worth of writing is far better than writing nothing because I cannot fit in a one-hour stint. I need to grasp the minutes rather than partition the hours at the moment.