I keep reminding myself that you don’t buy a house, you merely invest your money in it until the day comes that you sell, at which point you can invest your money in another one instead. It is not a car, for example, which depreciates, although my vehicles are so antique when I buy them that there is not much of a downward slope. I have to keep reminding myself of the house thing because, in periods like these, I seem to be spending every spare penny on it. The new bathroom was a matter of choice, of course, but was needed and, my word, it has transformed that room, but since then there has been the clearing (the skip, booked for a day, is still on my drive!) and, even since then, there has been a power outage and now a boiler failure.
Thankfully I consider myself to be relatively careful with money, but, even so, there have been many heavy sighs in front of the dancing figures on the internet banking pages over the past few days. I console myself that, when the move comes, I will be grateful that I did all this work. The house next but one to ours has recently come onto the market for a price I think very high, so I am watching carefully, especially as it will give a clear indication of what mine might eventually go for. It is just as well that the house is habitable at the moment, for my builder might as well move in, for all the time he spends here. I do not quite have him on speed dial, but he is certainly among my most called over the past three months.
I continued to work on the string piece yesterday, aiming my compositional pencil at the second movement, the more active of what will be a slow-fast-slow structure. I have let my imagination run free on this, anxious not to be restrained too much by technical ideas, as I have expressed frequently, and am now at the curious stage where I think it all works, more or less, but at times am not sure why. I do have a tendency to impose a set of conditions on a movement, so stepping outside that safe boundary has left me with an odd feeling, maybe a little like Vaughan Williams about his Fourth Symphony (“I don’t know if I like it, but it’s what I meant”). I am very aware that I do not like all of my music, and that my opinions can be very different from those of an audience, but it normally feels right at the time, and this movement is certainly close to that. I aim to continue work on it today and then move on to the finale tomorrow or on Friday.
I also chased up a commission today, the one I referred to in my last post, currently in the very early stages of “Would you like to..?”, with not even forces, length or anything else decided, but with the intention there, in principle. Three pieces on the go would do me very nicely indeed, and I am intending to round them out with a couple of competition entries for later in the year.
I also did some reading yesterday, digging out one of my Smith Brindle books and completing a couple of the exercises in the back. I really should do this much, much more often, and maybe it should be my safety net on those days which are simply to busy to do constructive work on other things, or maybe, of course, I should do them in addition to everything else, which would be the sensible option.
I also completed and sent off the new arrangement of my Tota Pulchra Es, now with added soprano part, for performance in September. This did not quite feel like shoehorning in an extra part, but at times it did feel like a squeeze. My aim was to make this new version of the piece sound to an unsuspecting listener as if it might be the original conception, so that anybody doing a back-to-back of the two might have difficulty in deciding which came first.
I did some tuition last night with a person whose musical background is fascinating, although the reasons for that are private and therefore not open for discussion here. It transpired that they had heard one of my pieces many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, but had not made the connection that I was the composer of that work. My music is not really widespread enough for large swathes of people to know it, but I have had a couple of similar approaches this week, and, while I doubt very much that it will become a regular occurrence, it is, at least, something to keep me chipper while the daily work continues.
Every now and again WordPress informs me that I have hit some small milestone – a certain number of followers or posts, that sort of thing, and in addition to readers who have these ramblings delivered to their inboxes there are those followers who keep their own blogs. Although I am not a prolific commenter and only a very tardy liker, I am a frequent visitor and am staggered by the breadth of talent there is to explore. There are some really wonderful and inspiring sites out there by creative artists in all fields, some of those fields completely unexpected, and it is real fuel to the engine on those days when it is just a little hard to get started. Go exploring!