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I spent much of yesterday in front of the computer screen, continuing my efforts to get ahead so that I can focus on writing some new music. I revised both the Military Medley and Through The Fair for performances this summer, which involved resetting the scores and creating a new scoring for piano and trumpet; I started tapping out the revised version of the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate, although, as you can see from the pictures, the critics were not impressed; and finally I scoured the internet for more opportunities for competitions, for I hope to have some time on my hands to enter some of these again in the near future. Probably the impending trip to America has whetted my appetite.

The critic casts his eye over work on the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate

In all I achieved far more yesterday than I had hoped, even if I worked later than I had expected, losing part of a free evening as a result. Today I intend to continue with the revision of the Jubilate, if the critics will allow it, and am also hoping to have my lecture notes written for my class next Monday, at least in their core outline, for I like to add things as I become more acquainted with pieces. This should mean that what will be a busy weekend might be a little less pressured, and that I should be able to relax a little rather than having to fire up the laptop at every opportunity. I had been hoping to have today as a day off, but it seems unlikely that that will be the case. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Oh dear – he remains distinctly unimpressed.

Once the Jubilate is out of the way it will more or less all systems go for the next batch of commissions, a couple of trumpet parts notwithstanding. As I wrote the other day, I already have some ideas for at least a couple of these and I have a feeling that there are more to come. I am not at the Shostakovich stage of being “pregnant with a symphony”, but I might have a little indigestion caused by an anthem or two.

I shall have to be careful this weekend, for I am involved in the preparations for a choral concert on Sunday evening, one of those things where the singers come together at the last moment and work intensely and concentratedly over the course of a single day, or, in this case, a day and the evening before. My timetable for Saturday will involve no fewer than seven hours of rehearsal, which I shall be taking, so I will really need to go easy on the voice. This will be tricky, given that one needs to assert one’s authority as a conductor (or at least the illusion of authority), so if anybody has ideas about how to keep from croaking at the end of such a session, please do let me know. I am hoping that port or red wine (in moderation, of course) might need to be administered.

My critic was so vociferous in his disapproval of yesterday’s work that he had me up at the crack of dawn this morning, running around the house and shouting at who knows what. The upside is that the day is still young and I have already made solid inroads into my pile of work. It all bodes well – maybe critics do have their uses after all.