Bruckner, Canterbury Cathedral, Gabrieli, Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir, Monteverdi, Occam Singers, Schutz, Sibelius, St Mark's Venice, Wild West, With Thy Might
It has often been said that the internet is like the Wild West, a frontier where good and bad exist in sometimes equal measure, and where the bold and the lucky can make their fortunes. If there is a lesson to be learned from the Wild West and the internet for budding entrepreneurs it is that those who provided the shovels and the microchips were the ones who got rich, not the ones panning for gold. At times, though, and used wisely, the net can be a wonderful tool, and I have written several times about how technology, especially the wonderful Sibelius program, has made my life easier. It has also made my reach far wider, and that is a good, good thing.
I write this because I received a charming short video from South Korea yesterday, featuring a group of expectant and cheery young players getting ready to give me a taster of the first of my arrangements to be sent out there. This was wholly unexpected and a real delight, seeing the fruits of my labours here in rainy Surrey being brought to life on the other side of the world, the whole process made possible only in the past ten years or so. Even twenty years ago I doubt that any composer could have imagined just what an oyster the world might become.
I am onto my next project already, editing and tidying pieces for a concert in July, after which I need to do some other odds and ends as well. I enjoyed being on tour over the weekend, and it was interesting to go back to Cheltenham on Tuesday, but as the rain pattered against my study window and my cat purred contentedly on my knee yesterday afternoon, I knew that it felt good to be settled back at home once more. I also received some footage of the performance of With Thy Might in Canterbury Cathedral, the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir diving into this for the third time in as many days, but now that the dust has begun to settle on those performances there is a little way to go before the next outing of my music.
On my way to do some teaching this afternoon I finally put my compositional head into some sort of order, working out exactly what needs to be done and by when, and it is clear that I will have enough work to see me nicely into next year if everything that is threatening to happen really does happen. I do not think that I have ever been able to plan ahead into so far a distance, and although I am realistic about the chances of some of those things coming to pass, it is still a heartening position in which to find oneself.
I played for an Occam Singers rehearsal tonight, prior to their concert in Godalming (which has a bespoke board game shop!) on Saturday. The programme is Bruckner, whose music I can take or leave, usually the latter, and Gabrieli, which, almost without exception, I will take. We have his In Ecclesiis on the menu for Saturday evening, which is an astonishing work, no doubt having the soul sucked out of it for an entire generation of children by having the misfortune to have made its way onto the A-level set works list. Thankfully, it is strong enough to survive this kiss of death. I sometimes wonder what is must have been like to have experienced that music in St. Mark’s, Venice at the end of the 1500s. I doubt that the word “revelation” would have done it justice – that Monteverdi, one of the greatest geniuses in all music, and Schütz, so unjustly neglected these days, were so attracted and influenced by it only begins to touch the surface of that musical iceberg. What an extraordinary time it must have been.