I cannot begin to imagine that many have been pining for this blog, awaiting new entries, but, from time to time, I have been told that people enjoy reading my ramblings, so it is the hour for an update. It has not been entirely mea culpa, this sudden dearth of news, for there have been many things newsworthy but, not being musical, they have hardly belonged here and have also succeeded in taking up much of my time. Let us just say that we have had nearly our full share of life events of late.
But music making there has been, amidst all the giddy whirl. Having played in Puycelsi a couple of weeks ago I was back in Anghiari last weekend, working with the singers there in preparation for the Parliament Choir’s Verdi Requiem concert in November. Alongside many familiar faces, including some brave souls who made the long journey from London, were some new singers from Florence who really seemed to enjoy themselves. It was hard work through some long hours, but the results were more than encouraging, and we carried on the good work with the Parliament Choir itself once back in the country.
In the meantime, and almost in the background, I have been continuing my work on the Carta Cantata, fighting a little with the central movement which needs to be reimagined just a touch. Put bluntly, there is too much slow music in the central span, but I need to keep various elements of it in place, so the question is how to break it up effectively, but without losing the narrative of the piece. Together with class notes and a little bit of private teaching, this has been taking up most of my time, by which I mean work time which has not been devoted to other things.
I am also in the middle of a house purchase, as some of you will know, trying to put into place the elements which will hopefully make the next chapter of my life a little less stressed and with much more time to devote to the finer things in life, composition included. I will still be working in London, but am trying to box my work into sections, with the plan of spending my “writing days” slightly further afield. A pleasant side effect of this is that I will be closer to my JEBO bandmates, and the sleeping beast is already stirring into life, rehearsal studio booked for the next step forwards.
Of course, there is many a slip and all that, and it may well be that all the research, fees, surveys and so on may come to naught, in which case, as most composers have learned to do, I shall brush myself off, take a deep breath and try again, but each day that passes is one day closer to completion, and one fewer day for obstacles to appear. Thus far it appears as if each successive email has brought new problems, but, at last, things have quietened down and, but for one or two things, the outlook seems to be good.
So what of my other music, then? Traditionally this is a quiet time of year in any case, but the flurry of interest over the summer is still having knock-on effects, and my composition timetable has some suitable gaps in it just in case recent enquiries come to fruition. As it is, there is a new Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis just going onto the writing table, which will be my fourth setting of this text, and I am confident that there will be more pieces besides before the year is out.
Even from a few months out, it seems that 2015 is going to be similar to 1995 for me. Back then I ditched my jobs, sold my lovely sportscar, slung my knotted handkerchief over my shoulder and heading off to London. Twenty years later, bang on schedule, I’ll be going back in the other direction and keeping what I want of London with me. It will be a change of pace and will involve some adjustment, of course, but I am ready for it and am looking forward to what it will bring, namely (I hope) greater serenity in which to write. People keep warning me that where I’ll be going will be very, very quiet compared to London…which is really the point of it all.