I have got back into the habit of travelling with manuscript paper and pencil and doing little bits of sketching on the tube, and just about in time too. Despite the Anghiari Festival being the main focus of my attention at the moment, there is enough happening with the writing to keep me busy through the summer and probably beyond. I have recently dipped into Persichetti’s Twentieth Century Harmony for inspiration, as I often do, and it has acted as a swift kick up the creative backside. It is a book which should be on the shelf of any aspirational composer and many who have made it.
For a start, I will need to return to Everyone Sang in a week or so and check that it is still as I remembered it. Then there are some new pieces to write, one choral and one vocal and instrumental, which have recently been confirmed, and a fairly large work for narrator and instrumental ensemble. In addition there is a competition entry I would like to get written before the end of the month, with another on the horizon. Lastly, there are rumours of more commissions floating around for later in the year, and each of these will bring performances with it.
This means that August, although relatively quiet in terms of playing and conducting work, is going to be busy in terms of writing, and probably the closest I have come in the past year to the life of a proper (i.e. full time) composer. Make no mistake, this is still something I am working hard to achieve, and while I still enjoy the playing and the directing, if I had to choose one it would undoubtedly be the writing.
There have been various short domestic chats (some with les chats) involving where I need to make changes in 2012/13, and it is clear to me that there are still some adjustments I would like to make. Obviously, having a constant stream of commissions on the go (which lead to performances, which lead to commissions, which lead…well, you get the picture) is priority number one, and it may just be that this is starting to happen. With a bit of luck the Festive Voluntary might also tickle a little interest in America as well, but, while having such an aim firmly in mind, it is crucial that I do not limit the time I am able to spend on those projects. In other words, it cannot happen that I turn down composing work because I cannot fit it in. This was a major factor in leaving teaching behind, and while I feared I might be twiddling my thumbs, any reader of this blog will have seen that I have instead been kept pretty busy.
In many ways this is a problem I am looking forward to dealing with, for it will be a sign that the foundations of the last year are solid and that this is a viable way to get by. There are also some other areas which could help my writing, I think, and August really does look like a chance to knuckle down, invest in the future and test drive the kind of life to which I aspire.