Blow blow thou winter wind, Exeter College Oxford, Shew Me Thy Ways, Suite for two clarinets, The Lord Is My Light
The handy thing about having more than one piece on the go is that, should one grind to a halt, the other can be brought to the top of the pile while the brain ticks away quietly in the background on the impasse. It is also useful to have a free morning, of course, and for the emails to be relatively quiet. All the stars have aligned so far this Monday, and I have made decent progress both with the string piece and with the Exeter College commission.
I am fighting a little with the first movement of the string work at the moment. I know where it wants to go, but I am yet to be convinced I have found the right way to get there, and what has already been written now wants to break out (melodically? harmonically? texturally?) but I cannot quite put my finger on how it wants to do this.
For many years I have, where possible, stuck to one piece at a time. I tried working on multiple compositions a long time ago and found that it diluted my thoughts just a little, but now I feel differently. At least I can continue to write and make progress somewhere, even if that place is not where I started the day. I also find now that the thoughts I have on one piece might illuminate another much more usefully, especially where they are being written with contrasting techniques and sounds.
The weekend was fairly productive as well. For once I left my netbook at home, and decided to cut myself off from the interworld as a result, and very useful it was too. At the start of this week, therefore, I sit with many ideas for the Exeter piece sketched out, even if there is a large Old English-shaped hold in the middle, and much of the first movement of the string piece in place, some of the second and third movements as well.
Looking forward, there are two performances of my madrigal Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind this weekend, one in Lewes and one in Brighton, while July will bring outings for The Lord Is My Light, Shew Me Thy Ways and Suite For Two Clarinets. Thus far 2013 has been very healthy in terms of performances, especially since so many different pieces have been performed, and the momentum looks set to continue through to the rest of the year.
John Morton said:
A little advice from an old man, Nicholas: make sure you’re not being too hard on yourself. To much self-criticism is as bad as none and some of the great composers (Sibelius for example) thought nothing of rewriting a piece after hearing it in the flesh. This isn’t always possible with commissioned work of course. You’ll reach a point of no-return in any composition where you just have to get it down or leave it alone for a month or so which, too, isn’t always possible. Regards, JM.