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The past few days have been frenetic, a giddy whirl of playing, lecturing and (little bits of) writing. There can be no doubt that the Christmas silly season has begun already, but it has also been a good few days for my compositions. The Bath Responses were performed at St. Mary Abbots last Sunday, and Everyone Sang will get its second performance at St. Bride’s today, much sooner than expected, and all the more welcome for that. It also seems that other pieces are picking up performances over the Christmas period, both Sweet Was The Song and A Sad Carol For These Distracted getting further airings before the year is out.

The Parliament Choir have also begun work on my arrangement of We Three Kings, which will appear in their Christmas concert, and the Occam Singers are doing the same, so this will get two performances in quick succession. The Parliament Choir version will be scored for organ, brass and percussion, one of my more pressing tasks. I also need to set to writing a new organ piece (again with percussion and brass) for the Parly Choir concert, and am hoping to wheel this out as an organ voluntary over the festive season. It looks as though it will be based on the Yorkshire Wassail, as notated by Vaughan Williams, and although the various bits written so far are flung across several different scraps of manuscript, I already have a fairly clear idea of how it will work out. I also had a meeting on Tuesday night about Why Should We Not Sing?, which was constructive, and spoke not just of first, but also further performances down the line. It looks as though it will be aired for the first time on what would have been Lloyd George’s 150th birthday. This needs to progress to version two fairly soon, so that is another bit of work to add to the pile.

It is clear to me that I have not been writing enough of late, and that the considerable amount of time spent in preparing various lectures has eaten into my own composition. Once written, of course, a lecture can be reused, but there is a significant burden on the lecturer to get things right and to be prepared for any and all questions, which can often come from the very leftmost parts of the field. I enjoy taking classes, mainly because, like all egomaniacs, I find the sound of my own voice quite reassuring, but there is a huge and disproportionate amount of preparation involved.

Still, I am hoping that the rest of the year will settle down to what will essentially be a roughly equal mix of writing, playing and choir directing, and I shall need to sit down at some point and reflect upon 2012 and what I might have done better and will be able to adjust for next year. Meanwhile the proximity of the Parliament Choir concert, less than two weeks away as I write, means that I need to get cracking on new music sharpish. I rarely if ever miss deadlines, and I do not intend to start now.

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