I got back to the business of writing music yesterday evening, for the first time in many a long day. Since February or so I have been an arranger primarily, and this has meant a loss of momentum in my original writing, even if this state of affairs has provided work and food on the table. The business of orchestrating somebody else’s music is fun and involving, educational too, but the meat of putting something together out of nothing is what really thrills me. I use the word ‘thrill’ intentionally as well, for the moment an idea arrived for a line of text yesterday I felt that rush which comes to me when I know I have hit upon something I think is really strong, for now at least. This opening idea has gone on in the past few hours to generate other linked ideas, and that is a very good sign, because it means that the tough work on this piece might well look after itself and that the compositional process might come easily. Usually this means a decent composition.

I am particularly glad with this idea because I am setting a text which has been set many times before and I want to strip it of the associations which normally come with it. I have heard several settings of this poem and have hankered after the chance to set it myself, and I now have the opportunity to do so. I am looking forward to treating it as text for text’s sake and giving it a side which the author may not have intended it to have, but which, given the context of the commission, I think it is justified.

Later on yesterday I discussed another new commission, one for an anniversary next year. We are text hunting at the moment, and the feeling thus far has been a little like looking for something when you do not quite know what that something is.  A little chat clearly planted some seeds in my mind, for I came up with a basic structure and outline shortly thereafter, and now we can go hunting for specifics. This work is going to be about fifteen minutes long as well, and I can’t wait to get my teeth into it.

I also realised that, after my last competition rejection, I have nothing being adjudicated at the moment, and I think that I shall need to remedy that sooner rather than later. I am convinced that the more I write the more I will learn and the better I will get, even if some of the pieces along the way will leave much to be desired. I still think that choral music is my strong point, yet I have received awards for my instrumental work as well, so I simply need to keep chipping away.

Clearly there is some wind in my sails. June looks as though it will be a little troublesome in terms of finances, and that is a small worry on the horizon, but I can almost sniff new pieces in the breeze, and the way I feel today reminds me emphatically that this, above all, is what I want to do. There is still editing to be done and lecture notes to write, but maybe I should be stronger on myself and not place other work at the top of the pile, instead granting myself some time each day, where possible, to hit my own targets and write my own pieces. It would not be a balance too difficult to achieve, and certainly worth the effort.