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My blog is 1 today!

So there’s my year, the twelvemonth duly told” always goes around my head on my birthday, but today is instead the first anniversary of this blog’s opening post. Although I have not stuck completely to my initial philosophy of not digressing from composition itself, the blog has picked up followers through the year (thank you) and a healthy number of page views too, not bad for somebody scribbling away in their attic as and when time allows.

The piece I was writing this time last year was Through The Fair, which, to be honest, seems like a lifetime ago, and has been heard in various versions since its first performance, and since then I have added With Thy Might, Silent Night, He Makes His Messengers Winds, We Three Kings, Peace, My Heart, Ar Hyd y Nos and Everyone Sang to the official list of pieces. This might not look like much for a year’s endeavour, but my official list only includes those works performed or lined up for a performance.

Unofficially, though, the picture looks slightly different, and this list of works includes The Glory Of Him Who Moveth Everything, 1ntroduction and 1mprovisation, Archi, and a-yearning and a-striving, all of which were competition entries which failed to hit their marks, some better, some worse. There were also the arrangements for the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir’s concert in March, NLCS Jeju in South Korea and for the Anghiari Festival, so the picture does not look too bad.

In terms of performances, though, this has been a really encouraging year. Sweet Was The Song was easily my most performed piece, broadcast twice, but there have been broadcasts also for Missa Sancti Nicolai, Silent Night and Of All Persons And Estates, and performances of various Masses, the St. Mary Abbots Jubilate, A Sad Carol For These Distracted Tymes, Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on G, Dominus Regit Me, the Blackheath and Bath Responses, Si Diligitis Me (still waiting for my commission fee for this one…), and, of course, the Festive Voluntary, which was performed, published and awarded. Dum Committeret Bellum was also released on CD by SFZMusic.

If anything, though, I need to focus more on instrumental and chamber music this year, for my choral catalogue is doing very nicely indeed, thank you very much, and is starting to generate a little momentum all on its own. I have some commissions on the go at the moment, and, hearteningly, some of them are instrumental, a step in the right direction. There are also performances lined up later this year for almost every single one of my new pieces, which is great news and does that most important of things in getting my music out there.

There are plans afoot for the next few years as well, and I have adjusted my targets for the coming year upwards as a result. It will be interesting to see where I am next 27th July, and what has happened between now and then, for I very much feel that this year has been a learning year, and that I can put things into place over the summer to correct those areas where I might have fallen short thus far.

To be fair, though, I have more or less achieved what I always wanted to do. For many years I knew that I wanted to take a year off in order to concentrate on writing music, and, through busier and less busy times, that is effectively what I have done this past year. For some reason, though, I had always assumed that it would be a sabbatical, that I would go back to teaching afterwards and would be unable to make ends meet, but, at least for this year, I have managed to outrun the chasing financial hounds.

Going freelance is, I think, a little like a bird beginning to fly. There is always that dip before its efforts enable it to break the shackles of gravity, and my past escapes from proper jobs have taught me as much, that the most difficult part of the whole endeavour is the start.

Tonight I am going to settle down with Prosecco, of course, and there is a cake on the go courtesy of my other half, a DVD to come this evening. It is hard to know whether to be pleased or not with the past year, for there is still some way to go along the road, but I can at least say that I am satisfied with what I have done and will not be lessening my efforts.

Meanwhile, thank you for coming along for the ride. Your support is much appreciated.