Up, down and around and about. My emotions are all over the place at the moment, fragments of elation interspersed with moments when I wonder whether the footwell in my composing desk is big enough to hide a 43-year old male.
Example? Well, this morning I was getting up a real head of steam, transcribing my basic sketches for the string piece into Sibelius and then adding details and lines directly into the computer. “This is going well”, I though as I picked up momentum and headed for the climax of the first movement. Then, for a fraction of a second, my builder, doing heaven knows what downstairs, switched the electrics in the house off and then back on again. Sibelius has autosave, thank heavens, but I still lost a chunk of detail and all my enthusiasm.
This was at the end of a morning when, having begged him to do his level best to keep the dust to a minimum, he proceeded to remove a large chunk of wall with all the windows and doors open. It is not the first time he’s been asked, and my patience is wafer thin at the moment. I was also planning to spend an afternoon sitting in the park with my beloved (no, not my ego, thank you very much) but now it is raining. I am trying to take the long term view, but the sheer emotional vistas of this morning have been tough to take.
I read this superb article last night when I got home, expressing thoughts to which I have often given voice myself. The very idea that all of your best musical ideas fall out of your head once you reach, say, 30 is complete nonsense, and what, as the author rightly points out, about those who might take up composition later in life? I accept that those who run the competitions have the luxury of setting the rules, but I find it hard to accept that they might not be after the very best piece of music they can find, in which case the entry requirements should be open.
It was reassuring to read in Tom Sharpe’s obituary this week that his first book was published when he was 43. I shall add him to Elgar, Lutoslawski, Brahms and many others who came to success when wisdom and experience were on their side.
Whinge over. I’ll have some serious cleaning to look forward to this evening, but at least the string piece has progressed and the sun might come out again tomorrow. Chin up.
Alan Chance said:
My favourite example of a late starter is Peter Roget, who published his thesaurus at the age of 73. He was a vastly intelligent man who worked in several fields, but he only started on his magnum opus in his late sixties. I wonder how many other examples of very late starters there are?