Today is technically a day off for me, which means that I have spent the morning answering emails, proofing parts for a couple of my pieces, and trying to get prepared for the weekend ahead. At least it seems that we have everything we need for the building works, so even though they are now about a week behind schedule the end is somewhere in sight. From experience I always allow for double what my builder quotes me (time and money), so I am still happily within target of both at the moment.
I can’t wait to get on with some more “proper” scribbling, having concentrated so much on arranging and orchestrating over the past couple few weeks. I have just written an email to an aspiring composer, giving my usual advice to go and play in the fields of modality for a bit, and realise that, for all the missed commissions and the dodgy performances (which are less and less frequent these days) my enthusiasm for writing continues undimmed.
I had the opportunity to chat on a couple of occasions in Anghiari with somebody whose life has been full, replete with achievement and making the world a better place, and was, as always, slightly surprised to find that my way of life interested him so much. I told him at one point that I love what I do and would not do anything else for the world, and he seemed genuinely envious. It is a timely reminder that being a musician is a thing of envy for many, and that the small frustrations are as nothing to those some other people face, the responsibilities correspondingly smaller.
Responsibilities there are, though, most importantly to those who employ me and, of course, to those who commission pieces. While the next week is still busy, there are some oases dotted around, and I hope to fill them with sketches and ideas. I would like Monday morning to bring with it the first movement of the string orchestra piece sketched in full outline, if not yet in details, and with a text for the Exeter College commission close enough to chosen to allow me to get on with adding to the ideas I already have.
Meanwhile my venerable laptop, trusty and faithful for the past seven years or so, suffered a catastrophic failure while I was away, so much did it miss me. From the death rattles it is clear that this is a fundamental problem with the hard disk, and, while there was nothing on there of real value, it still leaves a laptop-shaped hole on my desk. I nearly ran out to buy a new one (for which read “reconditioned”, for I am positively miserly on such scores), but am using my netbook as a replacement for the time being. The screen is smaller, but it is much lighter and does pretty much everything the laptop used to do. If I miss the bigger screen then I shall go hunting for a replacement, but I need to keep the retailers on their toes..!