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The parts for my arrangement of Blest Pair Of Sirens went off last night, a day after I had hoped, but still pretty close to my self-imposed deadline, given the events of the past few days. By the time I pressed ‘Send’ it was probably about 7 in the morning in South Korea, where they were heading, so it did not take long to get a reply, giving me a small list of tasks to carry out on the project today, in addition to adding the vocal parts to the score. I reckon that this will take a few hours of work, and it is something I am keen to dispatch as son as possible, as I need to get straight onto my next task after this.

I am getting the itch to write something new for myself, and, having dug out the sketches of the Viola Something for a composition pupil to look at yesterday, realise that I quite like what there is of that piece, although I am worried that I may have lost the thread of it. Once this next batch of arranging is out of the way I think I shall need to get back to work on that piece. It has no performance lined up, neither has it been properly commissioned, but I still think that it would prove a useful work to have in my catalogue, whatever it turns out to be.

I received some reading material from one of my current commissioners yesterday with regard to one of the projects I mentioned in a recent post. This promises to be very interesting work, and I am putting together some very rough ideas in the early stages of this. As always I would be keen to take the road less trodden, so I am on the lookout for something quirky, unusual or unexpected about the subject matter, and am sure that, with enough digging, I can find it.

There are a couple of other small affairs to be getting on with once the second set of arrangements is out of the way. I am hoping to revise the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate, as this will be getting an airing within the next couple of months. It is one of the better pieces of my 20s, but, with the wisdom of middle age or wherever it is I am at the moment, I can see that there are some areas which could benefit from a little tidy, especially as this would make like substantially easier for the performers on a Sunday morning. It is also a piece so old that it predates my ownership of Sibelius (and I bought the very first version for PC!), so it would be useful to have a copy on file.

Rehearsals continue on With Thy Might, which is due to get its first airing early next month, on the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir’s tour of Kent. I am fairly pleased with where this piece has landed, as it has tried to hit the “easy to pick up and perform once known” target. Admittedly, we are still not quite at the “once known” point, but we are not too far from it, and performances always seem to be easier after the first is over.

The “more far out than Ligeti” (not my words, but there we go) Missa Sancti Nicolai will be the Mass of choice at the end of year service at St. George’s Cathedral on Sunday 8th July. Although I have yet to receive anything solid in terms of commissions from the Christmas Eve broadcast (apart from a PRS payment, of course) I did receive a couple of approaches, and like to think that those involved are still considering their options. Maybe I should be doing some gentle nudging, the equivalent of a staged clearing of the throat, and see where those nudgings nudge.

Somewhere towards the end of the year there will presumably be outings for my arrangement of We Three Kings (hopefully with broadcast) and Ar Hyd Y Nos, sadly postponed from last week. I like to think that Sweet Was The Song might emerge from whatever the opposite of hibernation is as well. Aestivation?

As I sit in my front room writing this it is tipping down with rain outside and some gent has just made his way gingerly up the road on his overpowered and thus, I would imagine, rather skittish motorbike. The thought of having to wake up at 6 and make my way to work in this kind of weather makes me glad to be where I am today, and there is a gentle drip drip drip of commissions coming my way, whether for arranging or composition. I feel well placed to move on to the next level, and have a sneaky feeling that things will improve yet further before the end of the year. With work for South Korea and jaunts to Italy, France and the US in the next six months, there is a real chance I could begin to think more widely about my writing, something made so much easier in the modern age. Beethoven should have been so lucky.