The past week has been on the quiet side as far as composition has been concerned, hence the stillness of this blog, but there has been enough for a little update, at least. I have been putting notes together for my latest piece, a work for narrator and instrumental ensemble, and although the effort has been intermittent, the music seems to be coming pretty readily. Alongside that I am hunting for a text for my next choral endeavour, and have narrowed down my target to a single author, even if I am still undecided as to which extract to use. I’ll take the opportunity to pop into a bookshop in Wimbledon this afternoon (if there are any left) and have a quick browse. Somehow dropping by at Project Gutenberg does not feel the same.
Some stirrings also on the performance front, a church in Chelsea asking whether I would be in favour of a performance of the Missa Seria in early September. I can never imagine refusing permission for one of my works to be performed, so I am always surprised when I am asked, although that does at least allow me the opportunity to spread the word. Up to that request it had been a little quiet on the email front, although I am still looking at at least four premières before the year is out and at least two more already booked for 2013. Everything is relative, of course, but it is good to want more.
Early though it may seem, I am already thinking forward to Christmas, or, to be more precise, to my Christmas carols. Sweet was a minor hit last year in certain quarters, even though I did not begin sending it out until nearly the end of September, so I need to be out of the starting gates a little earlier this time around, and I should also spread my net significantly wider. It also currently sits in a publisher’s in-tray, and, while I have reservations about letting go of control of my work, in this case the ends would probably justify the means.
Past of the reason for my quiet this past week has been the number of miles I have spent on the road, as a result of which my car has retreated to the local mechanic for some much-needed TLC. After I even went to the trouble of cleaning the inside of it of rubbish the other week, the poor thing probably now believes it is going to be sold to some careful owner somewhere. Not so. I reckon I can get another 40,000 miles out of it before it gives up the automotive ghost.
I spent last Sunday morning at Arundel Cathedral, playing the organ for the Sunday morning services at which the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir sang. This meant a solid slice of transposition, given that the organ there is nigh on a semitone sharp. Mozart Mass in B rather than C? You got it! Hard on the brain, however. The moment of highest drama came right at the end when a passing storm, violent in its intensity, unleashed a bolt of voltage which must have hit the Cathedral directly. The lights all went out, and the organ packed up within a fraction of a second, leaving the choir adrift on a sea of Handel, fortunately without too many gaps in the texture.
I have had organs pack up on me before, mainly as a result of faulty electrics, but this is the first time I have been struck by lightning, and very dramatic it was too. Thankfully the trip switches were reset before we had to ask some singer or other to man (woman?) the bellows, and, glory of glories, the choir was bang in tune when the organ finally returned to action, although, amid all the kerfuffle, it is just as well that I remembered to transpose down a semitone, else things could have been even more shocking.