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Getting on with the New Year has involved a move back to the computer and manuscript, something I had promised myself in the Christmas break but which proved difficult to do, given that there was a hefty amount of socialising going on, sometimes at other people’s houses, sometimes at our own.  We saw in 2016 with our neighbours and some others, probably overindulging in various foodstuffs, but otherwise having a fine time.  Tomorrow, though, is Monday, and deadlines loom, as well as work on that far horizon.

I am putting the final touches to song for soprano with piano accompaniment, something delicate to pitch, as the language is quite distant in some places and yet I do not want the music to lack warmth.  I am experimenting with a different scale, one I have not used for many years, but which has thrown out some interesting possibilities.  As so often, the vocal line goes in first, more or less, and always strikes me as odd when on its own, but gathers layers once the accompaniment has gone in.  This Sunday afternoon, before my next work engagement, I plan to spend a couple of stints on fleshing out the piano part and, for the first time, actually trying it out on that instrument itself.

The next stop after that will be the next Parliament Choir piece, for our concerts in April and May.  Even though those dates are some time away I would like to get the notes onto paper as soon as possible, as there will be a fair amount of exploratory work for this one, I imagine, as I intend to base it on the language and gestures of another composer, and need to get right into that style in order for it to become effective.  The arc of the piece, the nature of it and what I would like to achieve are already clear in my head, but the notes will take some work.

Despite this writing and other engagements, January will be quieter than December, and a chance to catch up with the niceties of life rather than run around from carol to carol, but I shall still be pushing myself to get things done.  My inconsequential dreams of a dry January only lasted until lunchtime on the 2nd, although I have been positively abstemious by the standards of the last days of 2015, but I have to say that the push towards a healthy lifestyle is not being helped by one major retailer.  The salad bar at the Tesco on Kensington High Street was, as of half an hour ago, totally devoid of salad, instead stocked to the hilt with cans of lager and beer, all heavily discounted.  O tempora, o mores!

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