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Having spent hours and hours and hours traversing the country upon my trusty fifteen year old steed (Toyota Avensis 1.8 GLS) I have finally arrived at my summer hideaway, a place different from the past three years but still tucked away and hidden and, unlike the former place, quiet.  For the first time I can remember I have slept through the night unperturbed by car horns, police sirens, banging tunes, reversing lorries, hotel guests, fire alarms, cats and the like, and this morning I looked out onto a vision of fields and trees from where I sipped my morning coffee.

I am hiding somewhere near here…

In the background, of course, my wheezy laptop, not quite as old as the car but getting there, groaned into life, bringing Sibelius to the screen and the various sketches of the Carta Cantata.  This is certainly my main project for the next few months, most likely through to the end of the year, as I gather material together and gradually massage it into what I hope will be a convincing shape.  In the background is the omnipresent pressure of time, but I am happy that I am ahead of the curve and easy in the knowledge that there is some give in my schedule.

Next Sunday the London University Church Choir will be singing The Lord Is My Light at Durham Cathedral, alongside settings of the Jubilate and Te Deum by Stanford, about whose music I have written before and with whom I have been coupled (for want of a better word) on the recent EM Records release of Flyht.  I admire Stanford’s writing very much indeed and always happy to be mentioned in the same breath as him, or, indeed, on the same service sheet.

Towards the end of the year it is quieter as far as performances are concerned, at least at the time of writing this, but likely that pieces will drop into the schedule, especially as Christmas approaches.  Instead the balance, with the cantata and various other commissions, has shifted firmly towards writing, meaning that I will have to spend the next year knee-deep in manuscript, surrounded by pencil shavings and broken computer mice.  Three years ago, when I began writing this blog, that was exactly what I had set out to achieve, and now is the time to ensure that those wheels, like those on my car recently, keep spinning.