So there’s the year, the Malcolm Sargent Festival Choir weekend at Arundel Cathedral receding into the past hour by hour and meaning that the summer break is here, my next work merely a dot in the distance towards the end of August. It is the end of Year Three of The Great Compositional Adventure, and things are beginning to acquire a momentum all of their own. The calm period of the next few weeks is in reality going to be an opportunity for me to focus fully on my current projects, the most important of which is the cantata for Magna Carta 800.
Before then, though, I need to thank the good members of the MSFC for their wonderful efforts yesterday morning, our soloists Clare, Gavin and Joe included. Of course, there was a variety of music being sung, but it was the two performances of Melody Divined which will stick most in my mind, conducted by the choir’s Music Director and dedicatee of the piece, Simon Over. Simon spent considerable time on the details during Saturday’s rehearsal and it undoubtedly bore fruit on the Sunday morning. The first public performance, at the 9.30 service, was better than we might have expected at that time of the morning, and at the 11.15, buoyed by the confidence of the first run, it was that much better, both renditions unaccompanied from first to last and with the soprano solo in place as I had originally imagined. It was a great way to bid farewell to the academic year.
Despite the outward calm there are other things going on, including a slight bit of redecoration in the house. The plan remains to up sticks round about this time next year and to decamp to somewhere more rural (quieter, in other words), earlier should the opportunity arise, and it seems sensible to get the house into as decent a condition as time and money will allow. The thought of moving out of my composing attic into a work room with vertical walls is really rather enticing.
This morning I got straight back into the Carta Cantata, adding material to one of the central sections. The work will be in three main spans, and the first and third already have substantial amounts of material sketched out while the second, acting as a kind of interlude, is a little more gappy. What is there is in varying states of readiness, some of it more or less printable, while other sections are only just at the stage of a first sketch. There are long sections which are beginning to flow together, however, and I am happy thus far both with the layout of the work and the musical language and material. I plan to spend significant time on this over the next few weeks.
The next performances of my music, as far as I am aware, will be at Durham Cathedral on the morning of the 24th, an outing for The Lord Is My Light, written for the University of London Church Choir and their director Sally Martin-Brown, by whom it will be sung and conducted. I think it will be the third or fourth outing for the piece, which is a good figure. Into the autumn things are a little more shadowy, but there should be more performances to come, and I have already had ideas for something new and slightly different for the Parliament Choir carols in December.
So, thanks to all for the past year. I know I have several anniversaries – academic year, birthday year, calendar year – which, as it happens, fall pretty much equidistant from each other, but if that means that I reflect a little more often and recalibrate that much more efficiently, then that is surely no bad thing.