The word “genius” is bandied about with depressing regularity in this day and age, usually in an entirely inappropriate manner. What most people forget about genius as well is that it often walks hand in hand with sheer bloody hard work. Whatever talent or inclination we might have, decent graft never goes amiss, and even Mozart was hot-housed (as we would say nowadays) by his father Leopold, while Beethoven worked so hard on his pieces that the sketches are often at least five times as long as the final product.
I write this because it came as no surprise to me at all that Daniel Day-Lewis won his third Best Actor Oscar on Sunday night. I have not yet seen Lincoln, but find it hard to believe that this acting titan does not give a performance of historical brilliance. Of course, he selects his films obsessively, much as he prepares for them, and famously stays in character throughout the filming process (so they say). While some might see these as the indulgences of a luvvie, I see them as going the extra mile, and then some. It is no wonder that the man has received the recognition he deserved, and rightly so.
I have tidied up the organisational ends of The Serried Multitude, which is on hold until later in the year, and am cracking on with a couple of competition entries, pending the next commission, which could come at any time, even today if I am lucky. It has been a busy few days, but I have been doing some light harmonic work where and when possible, and hope to apply that to this new piece, which, win or lose, will then hopefully go on to be performed elsewhere, hopefully even this year.
I am also no longer the Associate Music Director of the Occam Singers, although they were ridiculously kind to me on Saturday, generous too, and we enjoyed our last common engagement very much indeed. For some reason, however, I did not feel too emotional. Perhaps my focus has already shifted to the writing, perhaps speaking about my aims to so many people on the day reinforced what I really want to do.
After I have cleared today I have some more time to spend at home, and it is a good sign that I am looking foward to putting in some hefty stints not just on this new piece, but also on some others. I have several competitions lined up in my sights, and need to plan a route through them (Piece A becomes Piece B which then becomes a movement of Piece C, for example). Also, a recent rejection has freed up a piece which can be tidied and tightened and sent off for another opportunity. As always, one door closes and another opens, but I need to work hard enough to get my foot in when that happens.