It is getting to a busy patch, but thankfully I seem to be that tiniest bit ahead on most things. I survived my scrape with Bruckner 9 by finding a recording I could just about listen to (BPO, Rattle), and I have to admit that some of the ideas are ravishing but that the execution just drives me insane, appropriately enough. Numbering the bars regularly from 1 to 8 before you put notes into them is never going to lead to something lithe and flexible. The rest of the year bodes better, however, and my classes will be experiencing joys by the likes of Pergolesi, Saint-Saens, Mozart and Finzi, all good stuff.
The commission for Cantores Salicium is pretty much complete, so I am letting it simmer for a bit and adding detail here and there, and the next task at hand is the orchestration of the Te Deum Laudamus in preparation for the Parliament Choir concert next month. There is also another potential commission on the horizon, but, apart from that, I have been indulging in a few technical exercises, flexing the compositional muscles, and sketching ideas for future use, never a bad idea, although those exercises tend to cause an avalanche of overflowing thoughts which can then be tricky to put into order.
Ahead there are the premieres of the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Eb at Christ Church, Hampstead, on the evening of the 22nd November, and then the Te Deum on the 25th, two decently sized pieces to have see the light before the run to Christmas which should bring, I hope, some outings for my various carols. The weeks before those performances will be close to the busiest of the year, however, as various lecture schedules coincide with the build up to concert season and Advent.
As the leaves change colour on the trees on the A303, I am also reminded that I am coming up to the first anniversary of The Big Move. I have made leaps in the dark before, although it would be beyond reckless for them to be truly in the dark of course, and it is always reassuring to reach the first anniversary intact. My goal for year one of any genuinely life-changing move, of which this is the third, is to break even, for, once that is done, one has experienced more or less the best and the worst that the annual cycle has to offer, even though there will be tests every now and again.
Looking back on the move from today’s perspective, I can see just how tumultuous it was and how much of a risk, even if rigorously calculated, but break even I have, and I would even say that there is a genuine sense of comfort and stability in my life that has been lacking for some time. It is not that I have felt unstable, more that the past twenty years have all been a journey in a single direction, and that direction turned out to be here, not all that far away from where I expected it to be.
As we bump into friends from the past year on the street, chat to the shopkeepers we know, meet up with new acquaintances for coffee or a meal, visit the various markets and continue to explore the surrounding area, it is hard sometimes to come out of that acquired mindset of worrying that it might all vanish into the ether at some point. I never used to think that way, so maybe the task for Year Two is to relax into what we have, keep writing, live a little more, and never, never, never give up.