The London University Church Choir, directed by Sally Martin-Brown, performed The Lord Is My Light at their Advent Carol Service on Sunday evening, thus kicking off not only the pre-Christmas season, but also the festive appearances of various of my pieces. The recording, which I was fortunate to listen to last night, sounds very fine.
Yesterday the Parliament Choir rehearsed The Angel Gabriel and It Came Upon The Midnight Clear in preparation for the concert on Wednesday evening (and we will be doing the same tonight), and that, for my arrangements, is just the beginning. Every time I think that I have listed them all another performance or another request for a score drops into my emails. It is all quite heady, but it does require me to be uncharacteristically organised.
I have to say that I am quite pleased with The Angel Gabriel. I find it a beautiful carol anyway, but wanted to dig deeply into the words in order to bring it to life just a little bit more authentically than it might otherwise have done. Little touches here and there bring a smile to my face in performance (especially one as honed as that directed by Simon yesterday evening), and remind me what a joy writing music can and should be.
I feel as though my recent days in London have been little but a blur of work, and I have struggled to do any serious writing, although that does not mean that I have not managed to do half an hour here, half an hour there. There is much Christmas organising to be done, and the promise of decent performances next year which require just a little shifting of commitments.
I was talking to somebody last week about my recent move, the domestic upheaval and all that, and found myself saying to them (and myself) that all this recent manoeuvring was simply a means to an end, that end being to be able to write more freely and effectively, in clearer time and with fewer financial worries. Despite all the uncertainties of the next few months, I really am confident that things are decisively better than they were even a month ago, and I feel lighter as a result. I am sure that once the Christmas carol season dies down a touch I will be able to get on with writing once more with a vengeance. In the meantime, though, there are the performances to remind me why I do it.