It has been a late start to the day, for I dropped by the fizz shop on the way home last night. After a slightly wayward beginning to the week, running into one of those “is anything happening?” patches which seem to happen to composers, everything seemed to click into place yesterday afternoon, a little bit of “sauter” after all the “reculer”.
We ran through Of All Persons And Estates yesterday evening during the Parliament Choir rehearsal, and, even though I had my back to the choir and they had their backs to me, it sounded pretty spectacular from where I was seated at the organ console. We performed this piece in 2010, alongside the Mozart Requiem, making me one of few composers to have written for basset horns, and then again in 2012 together with the Lobgesang, and it is with the Mendelssohn work that we shall be performing Estates on the 9th July. If it sounds this good this early then it should be an impressive performance, and the slight revisions I have made to the score are working well, although it was amusing to note that a line I had simplified for tuning issues was instinctively being sung in the older version, and in tune at that.
There also appears to be the possibility that the work will receive a performance abroad later in the year, at a rather prestigious concert, and even that possibility is a good sign. It is not just performances of works which count, but also that display of confidence other people have in them which make so much of a difference. Of course, the July performance is going to be rather prestigious anyway, our own Parliament Choir joining forces with that of the Bundestag to perform in Westminster Hall, a concert to commemorate the centenary of the start of the Great War, but also for the 300th anniversary of the accession of the Hanoverian monarchy, It is going to be a very busy week, but tremendously exciting.
I also received news a couple of days ago that against the pull of silence, on the programme for the Anghiari Festival, has been scheduled for another performance by Southbank Sinfonia under Simon Over, this time at St. John’s, Waterloo as part of their Rush Hour concert on 3rd July. As this predates the Anghiari Festival it means that the piece has an earlier than expected premiere, and, better still, by the group and in the venue for which it was conceived. With the tricky-to-achieve second performance already booked in I am already slightly less worried that this is only a brief flash in the pan, and happy that people will have at least the chance to hear the piece twice and therefore begin to understand how it all gels.
What else? Well, Exeter College will be performing Flyht again this weekend, which will be the third performance, as part of their Benefactors’ Day, and there are possibilities of more performances of other works at smaller events during the Anghiari Festival. I might even be able to go public on The Big Piece next week as well.
Alongside all this movement I have been tapping away merrily when at the computer, scratching pencil to paper when not, and firing the resultant pieces off to calls for scores, competitions, all those kinds of things. I rather fell out of the habit of doing this recently, drifted slightly away from my aim, but it is refreshing and invigorating to find myself back on the straight and narrow. A fellow composer and good friend, Ian Wilson, whose music I rate very, very highly indeed and whose contribution to modern composition is significant, lasting and of immense value, wrote an article recently about another composer in which he praised his ability to keep his foot down on the accelerator as he kept writing and progressed through his career, and not apply the brakes. Amen to that.