In the past 24 hours or so I have ridden roughshod over the entire range of emotions a composer can feel. I have experienced utter self doubt, elation and everything else in between, and come to the conclusion that the single attribute most valuable to a writer is tenacity, that thickness of skin which allows one to cling to the belief, however mistaken, that what one writes is not utterly worthless.
The first orchestral rehearsal for Of All Persons And Estates left much to be desired (although, as one of the orchestral players later told me, “that’s what rehearsals are for”) to the extent that I had to retreat into a corner to have a little cry. This was followed by a long night, both of work at the computer and of the soul, as I tried to put things into order as well reminding myself why I once thought I could write decent music.
Anyway, come Wednesday evening all is smiles once more, a second performance of Estates, better than the first, and a second broadcast to boot. With perfect timing I also had a couple of possible commissions drop into my inbox, one of which was fulsome in its praise of my writing. Misguided, I would say, but welcome at this time.
A murderous performance of a piece can lead to all sorts of problems, just ask Rachmaninov or Howells, but I am glad to report that exposure to the occasional ‘moment’ has given me a practical skin, one which immediately applies itself to remedying the situation, even if it involves slaving over a hot laptop until deep into the night. In the end it all came together, and maybe that is a reminder that where the music is concerned the destination is more important than the journey.
As I wept quietly in a corner on Tuesday night, wishing myself unseen, I was seen and encouraged, amongst others, by Denise, the manager for the Parliament Choir. Denise is such a part of the fabric of this choir and such a pillar in times of need that it is hard to imagine the choir without her. There seems to be the possibility afoot that she may have to move on, and I am happy to go on record in the big bad interworld to say that I think that this would be A Bad Thing. It has been a strongly emotional day or so, and I am aware that I am liable to go over the edge in whatever emotion I may be feeling, but I would be genuinely upset to see Denise move from under the umbrella of the Parliament Choir.
With a deep breath I head towards the end of the week. My arrangements are now behind schedule, thanks to the work done on this concert, but no matter, for life goes on. The possibility of new pieces is what drives me on, green shoots that may one day leap into flower.