So here we go. Most of my possessions are in boxes ready to be shipped out West tomorrow. I am in the somewhat luxurious position of not having to be out in the space of a single day so, whatever the stresses caused by thinking that I only have two more boxes left to pack, packing them and then finding that I still only have two more boxes left to pack, anything that does not get done on the morrow can be done at a later date.
While I am happy to be heading back towards the setting sun, being from that neck of the woods, there are still a few things I shall miss about the immediate neighbourhood. We spent this evening in my favourite Indian restaurant, a place I have been visiting since before I met here, and I felt sad to leave. I have also taken the opportunity to say goodbye to John, owner of the Chinese takeaway, to whose daughter I taught piano, theory and history – she now studies up at the Royal Northern. It seems that food outlets provide the strongest emotional pull for me, but, as far as musicians are concerned, ’twas ever thus, more so since the demise of Threshers.
Thank you also to those who have sent their good wishes and advice. Rest assured that everything seems to be in hand, and that the prospect of several work-free days gives me the opportunity to get settled before I need to be back in the capital. Apart from the move, most other things are simply going to have to take a back seat for the next few days.
Yesterday afternoon I played through the first version of the Carta Cantata to its commissioner, who was keen not just to hear what I had written thus far, but also what kind of text I had come up with. It was a select gathering, just he and me, and I think I did a decent job of filling in the many gaps, giving indications about orchestration and singing the various choral and solo parts. As I flicked through the pages on Sibelius some bars arrived which did not trigger even a flicker of recognition in the back of my brain, but I know that I wrote them at some point. That is the problem when tackling a piece an hour or so long, I would guess.
Still, the commissioner seemed pleased both with music and text, and sent me an email this morning detailing his thoughts. Thankfully we are both on the same artistic page and are now ploughing ahead with plans for the piece into 2015, but it was still worthwhile to check that what I had produced tallied with what he and the rest of the commissioners had wanted. It is an odd feeling to get fifty plus minutes into a composition and yet have the nagging feeling that it might all just be entirely wrong, but that worry has been lifted from my mind.
So, for the next few days it is the move, and then back to the Carta Cantata and some other projects. We ran my carol arrangements with the Parliament Choir yesterday evening as well, which are sounding fluent and confident, and I get the feeling that The Angel Gabriel will be doing the rounds this Advent while I am unpacking boxes.
After ten years and five months, several layers of dust from various builders, three hamsters, two guinea pigs, two rabbits, assorted uninvited mice, three cats, many jobs and acquaintances, it is time to move back from London. So, to the question Was it all worth it? I think I would have to reply Yes, it was a worthwhile experience.