Colin Campbell, Concerto for VIola, Exeter College Oxford, Flyht, London, Prelude in D minor, Walter de Stapledon
In the seven days since my last post there have been all sorts of interesting emails passing back and forth. As usual, I am not in a position to divulge any specific information on these at the moment, but I have been given a pretty reliable go-ahead to begin writing a new and substantial work, pending a few more details slotting into place. I submitted a proposal for this piece a long time ago, all the way back at the beginning of 2013, and it has taken a fair amount of shuffling and discussion to get the project to its current stage, but it genuinely does seem as if it is going to go ahead. We are looking at a first performance sometime next year, and I hope to be able to go public on the details of the work within the next few days.
The size of this piece would mean that the Concerto for Viola might just have to take something of a back seat for the time being, but I am reluctant to let it go entirely, given the amount of work I have already put into it, and also the progress it is making. I shall need to make a decision, however, about where that particular work is heading – competition later this year or maybe riding on the coat tails of this new work, I have yet to decide.
Said new piece will feature a choir, so my first task is to get my hands dirty and put together some kind of workable text. I’ll be culling ideas and themes from various different areas and the challenge will be to put them together into some kind of coherent state, clear enough to make sense but flowery enough also to create some kinds of musical ideas in my head right from the very start.
Meanwhile, of course, the countdown to lift off for Flyht continues unabated, T minus seven days and 10 or so hours by my reckoning. I tend, as a writer and a person, to focus on the immediate future when it comes to work, so it is only very close to a performance itself that I begin to get excited. I have had publishers pull out of deals, commissioners pull out of commissions and concerts collapse underneath me, and although this tends to happen very, very rarely indeed, it does mean that I am a counter of hatched chickens, hence my reticence in giving out details about possible, even probable, commissions.
Still, Flyht looks like having a no-holds-barred launch, part of the celebrations of Exeter College’s 700th anniversary, and occurring on the anniversary of the very day Walter de Stapledon signed the College statutes. I’m glad also that Colin Campbell, with whom I have worked before and a first class singer, will be taking part in the concert, and, of course, there will be various other friends of mine present and participating in the event, including some quondam-pupils, now-colleagues. It is slightly heady to think of the chain of events that has brought Flyht into being – thank you all.
Having had a bit of a bumpy weekend, bumbling around London wondering what to write next, the sun has come out and the birds are in the garden this week, both literally and metaphorically. Hoping for a swift confirmation of this new piece, my other half has presented me with a bound manuscript book for the project, and I still get a little thrill of excitement when I see all those blank staves, just as I did when I opened my first book all those years ago, aged eight and a bit, and wrote a Prelude in D minor. Those pages and pages of empty staves are like a field of dreams for me, just begging to be filled with new ideas, mud in the main but hopefully with gold in there somewhere. As always, I am hugely grateful to those who work behind the scenes to put commissions my way, who enable me to spend the time creating new sounds, my sounds. Now it is up to me to do my bit.