It will be a busy weekend, off to Exeter tomorrow for the performance of Flyht, thence to London for work on Sunday and then, bright and early, to Runnymede for the Magna Carta celebrations and an extract of 1215: Foundation Of Liberty, then a little more work and then home again for a dose of calm. It is a far cry from the seven weeks I spent a few years back without a single day off, working morn to eve, but it is all relative and stands in contrast to the relaxed country lifestyle.
Today, though, is quiet as far as work is concerned, although I have already spent a good part of the morning working on the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Eb, now at the stage where details are being added thick and fast, even though they are slightly crude in the execution for now. There is time for honing and refining, however, and the sound world of the piece is fairly enticing, open tonality combined with elements of quartal writing in a relatively pleasing (to me) ebb and flow of tension. Every now and again I come back to those questions I keep asking myself – Is it modern enough? Is it too modern? – but then I just have to leave things as they are if I think they are right. I have heard stories about the ways various composers “modernise” their pieces, some of those composers quite well known, but am developing, as I grow older, the courage to let the music speak for itself in whatever language I think it might require, modern or not. The right tools for the right job, and all that.
There was more composerly admin yesterday, sorting out some sound files for a choir, agreeing to the rights agreement for a recording of one of my pieces, that kind of thing, the little moments here and there that need to be done. It was a relaxed evening, through, a quick game of Seasons, which, against recent form, I managed to win, my cards coming together in a decent combo despite my opponent’s best efforts, and then out onto the terrace to enjoy the evening. This is now festooned with flowers where once it was just a blank space, and it is ironic to think that the blankness of that space nearly made us overlook this house. Now, however, peony, wisteria, honeysuckle, jasmine and many, many others grow, as if it is some kind of Shakespearean incantation, and it is a good place to work. The cats like it too.