I went back to Cheltenham yesterday for the first and probably the last time in a while, playing the organ for my grandmother’s funeral and taking the opportunity to catch up with family and a few friends from a long time ago. The funeral directors asked me whether I might be available for more work afterwards, but it’s a bit of a trek, so I had to turn them down, but it is interesting to know that there might be playing available back in that neck of the woods, should I ever go back. I stopped off in Burford on the way back for a meal at The Angel, which I recommend. There is also a church there with some graffiti from some Civil War prisoners, but it was locked and shut by the time I arrived there.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir was giving the third performance of With Thy Might in as many days. They must be heartily sick of it by now, but at least they have earned some time off for good behaviour. I am going to have to do some serious work on the exercise bike over the next few days to shift all those lovely cakes and goodies I consumed on the tour.
On the Monday evening I also managed to finish the second batch of arrangements for South Korea. The first batch is already in rehearsal, and I received a video this morning of several keen students beginning to get to grips with my notes. My second batch has also received a favourable first impression, and I take a little bit of pride in having brought both sets in on time and on or just under budget.
Clearing this pile of papers from my desk has eased a little of the recent pressure, but I still need to get straight onto my next tasks, both of which involve revision of my own works. I’ll need to do a little tidying for some arrangements the Occam Singers will be performing in July, also rewriting and resetting the St Mary Abbots Jubilate, for it could do with some revision. After that the way ahead looks to be clear for chipping away at some new things.
Alas, yesterday brought with it the final episode of the current series of Ed Reardon’s Week, building to a wonderful moment when Ed, deprived of the soup he expected as a volunteer Olympic greeter, launched into a marvellous tirade against the ills of modern society. This series hits its targets with such consistency, and yet highlights so many of the pleasures of life, that I really wish it were on every week, although I accept that this might cause the writers some problems. At least the final moments sounded more like an au revoir than an adieu, so I await news of a ninth series.
Yesterday was an opportunity to have a good old think, especially having had a good old chat or two over the past couple of days. Periodically we need to revisit our lives from the outside and try to remember what it is we set out to do. I am genuinely optimistic that the rest of the year will bring more opportunities with it and that things are continuing to progress. Composing is definitely a slow-burn career, unless you are one of the very, very lucky very, very few, built brick by brick until you have something approaching the outline of a career.