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I shall clearly have to be careful with my comments in this blog, for my homeward backpack yesterday was laden with various Tubular Bells, thanks to my writing last week, both versions and the redone first version as well. I also have to listen to Vaughan Williams’s 4th Symphony for a class tomorrow evening, so the CD player is going to be doing a fair bit of work in the coming days. Blasphemous as it may be to say so, most (but not all) of Ralph’s output leaves me unmoved, so I am hoping to be converted by a decent listen to this supposedly gritty work, but I have encountered it before, unaware it was by RVW, and not been drawn in. We shall see. When it comes to 4th symphonies in the twentieth century, even after having listened to this I have the feeling that I might still go to Sibelius, Lutoslawski or Shostakovich first, I’m afraid.

Gritty 4th Symphony? Sibelius for me, please.

It took the Parliament Choir some time to get into gear last night, mainly because an institution whose main function is to debate and vote (Parliament, of course, not the choir) needs to, well, debate and vote, and yesterday was a busy evening. As a result we did not get onto my pieces, but instead spent the time working hard on the finale of the Mendelssohn. It’s a strange feeling to pass up the opportunity to rehearse your own piece, but the needs of the many outnumber the needs of the one most definitely in this case, and by the end of the evening it was all sounding pretty convincing.

In between teaching assignments I managed to get some work done on the viola piece as well, again smoothly and relatively easily, so that I now have a fair chunk of material together. I’d like to try to get my admin out of the way this morning so that I can spend at least part of the afternoon continuing that thread. Most of the work thus far has been melodic rather than harmonic, and I am aware that the second half of this equation might prove a little bit more of a struggle. Even so, getting up a good head of steam might enable me to carry that momentum through into the harmonic work that needs to be done once I get to that point.

I am having new thoughts once more about the general layout of my days, about what should be done when, as I am aware that there are certain chunks of time which, at present, remain largely wasted. I am not being so rigorous as to give myself fixed hourly outlines, but I do think that things could be rather more efficiently laid out than they are at present. Many composers like to work in the morning, to get things out of the way, but, for me, that is when emails and goodness knows what else are most effectively done, leaving the composition trailing sometimes in a distant second or even third place. I am going to try shifting things around as of today and see what happens. Since a month or so back I am being quietly efficient in most things, but there are two areas of my life in particular which could be much more effectively and economically managed, so it has to be worth a try.

The rest of the week looks to be full of rehearsals and various JEBO shenanigans, but there will be enough time around and about these things to get bits of work done. I was speaking to a friend of mine yesterday about having gone freelance, and the possibility of going back to teaching in September, and they pointed out that, at the very least, I have survived these first six months, the most difficult, and that the next six will probably represent an upward curve from here, especially as I work out how best to juggle the demands of my current life. They are right, of course, and I should worry less and relax more. I might even be more productive as a result.

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