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One of the benefits of doing some composition, however little, is that it gets the brain into the habit of thinking about that piece and how it might best come together. Yesterday, even though I only managed to get the smallest amount of new material down for the Viola Concerto I still spent most of the evening thinking about its various elements and how they might eventually come together. It took a while to get back into the feel of the piece and patch together the various sketches from earlier on this year, but I think I know where I am going with it, and am fairly sure that it will be bigger than I had originally intended, although its final layout remains very much subject to change.

I also took the opportunity to edit and upload copies of Peace, My Heart and With Thy Might to my website, where they are available for free for curious choirs to look at and critics to rip apart. Peace needed just the smallest bit of rewriting to insert a missed word from the original text, but all is now as it should be, and there were a couple of small typographical errors to tidy in Might. With a bit of luck the new edition of the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate will go up in the next couple of days as well.

I also received an approach for a couple of commissions yesterday evening, both from the same person. Although small in scale they could be very exciting to write, and I already have a couple of texts in mind for these proposed works, one choral, one vocal. It is always good news being commissioned, and it seems to be happening more and more often these days, which is, I hope, a reflection of the work I have put in over the past years.

I had an interesting morning reading my great grandfather’s naval records, or at least as much of them as I could make out, as some of the writing is indistinct. The M2 is mentioned in there, and it is intriguing to see how his career developed. I have faint memories of him from when I was very young, probably the only person I remember who was born in the 1800s. I would still be interested to hear from any sleuths out there who might know where I can find more information on the M2, but I think I might be popping along to the Imperial War Museum in the next few days.

We rehearsed the Brahms Requiem last night with the Parliament Choir and were producing some lovely sounds at times. Our performance is not until November, so I think that we can look forward to a pretty decent performance, all being well. The intricacies of Brahms’s writing never fail to intrigue and delight me, even though the Requiem is not entirely free of the academic strictures he imposed upon himself after the failure of the first piano concerto. It is still devastatingly assured writing, however, and he continues to get better all the way to those superb clarinet works from his final years. My, how those progressive Romantics had him all wrong.