I was away in charming Puycelsi over the weekend on one of my regular visits for concerts in the church there at the top of the hill, as the good citizens of the neighbourhood, organised by Ross and Ginny Jenkins, conducted by Mark Opstad, gather together to perform and raise money for the church’s restoration. This year we were accompanied by a thunderstorm with all the trimmings, bringing back memories of Anghiari, but the church doesn’t quite leak yet, and the power supply to the organ only dropped out very briefly, and, even then, only during rehearsal, so all was well that ended well.
The journey to the airport on Monday morning was skin-of-the-teeth stuff, again in torrential rain, but with bad traffic and errant windscreen wipers thrown into the mix. Thanks to my father’s heroic efforts I made the plane, but my hold luggage is still somewhere in France, and I hope to be reunited with whatever is in it sometime in May. Toulouse to Bristol, Bristol to Shepton Mallet, Shepton Mallet to London it was yesterday, a service at St Mary Abbots (with some beautifully performed Howells!) and then to my London retreat. This time tomorrow I will be waking up in Somerset for the first time in a few days, with a booking at a pub in a nearby village to look forward to in the evening.
All the playing, travelling (and sleeping, of course) has thrown off the composition a little over the past few days, but there will be plenty of time for that once I get home, and I already have a decent head of steam up and running on my Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Eb, so I am not too worried about that. Excitingly, things are also happening apace for 1215: Foundation Of Liberty, the Carta Cantata, divided between efforts towards the first full performance in November and the events on Runnymede in June. For the June performance it seems as if every day brings new things (and I’ll need to be on the phone a fair bit this morning dealing with associated matters), but they are all exciting and the pace of development is fast.
The admin is all part of being a composer, of course, and while it can be a struggle to keep it out of the way of the writing, a careful application of efforts is normally helpful. It is also very handy indeed to have extremely capable and supportive people onside as well.
I have made a couple of personal decisions over the past few days as well, along the lines of gripe-less-enjoy-more. In the course of my conversations in Puycelsi I gradually came to realise (as if I did not already know it deep down) that my life at the moment is something very precious, the product of a lot of hard work and a little good fortune, but something many others in different circumstances would be happy to have. I have responsibilities, of course, and writing music and organising performances always bring with them that nagging persistent fear of failure (What if I run out of ideas?), so it can be easy for those thoughts to take over. But, heavens, I write music and make music for a living, and if that is not aspirational living then I do not know what is, and I do most of it from my little cottage in Somerset and then come into the big city to ply my trade.
So, time to get onto the phone and see what developments the day brings, and approach it all with a sense of excitement and wonder.