I finished This Light Of Reason last Monday afternoon in versions for piano and organ accompaniment and sent it off to its commissioner.  Pressing “Send” on a new piece is always an emotional moment, the more so given the background to this music and what it needs to represent.  Memorial pieces are not necessarily trickier to write than any other music, but there is certainly a more pressing necessity to get things right, and this work needs to be accessible without being facile, true both to its dedicatee and to its writer.  I was, I must admit, worried that the main melody was just a little too easy, just a little to safe, but it has lent itself well to various transformations, and the gradations of light and dark, both in the text and in the music, have sat in my head for a while, and seem to sit there happily.

On Tuesday evening the Parliament Choir and Southbank Sinfonia directed by Simon Over gave the first performance of The Human Seasons.  This was well received, the main criticism being that the piece was too short, but I’ll happily leave people wanting more rather than less.  The orchestration worked as well, despite being for a very pared down orchestra of only strings, one trumpet and one oboe, but the colours were more or less as I had imagined them, and the players appeared to enjoy it which, again, is something I’ll happily take.  One small surprise on hearing the opening was that the piece that sprang immediately to mind was Howard Hanson’s Symphony No.2, or, as most of us know it, the music played over the final credits of Alien as Ripley drifts off into hypersleep.  I wrote my piece during August and, oddly, had watched Aliens on one of those evenings, so I wondered if it entered my consciousness by the back door.  Certainly there is another piece in there, one from the screen, but that is one nobody has managed to pick out…

Tuesday being the autumn concert, Wednesday was straight into the pre-Christmas rush, resetting some carols for the Parliament Choir and (as you might have seen) making This Light Of Reason available for download.  This and other pieces will need to be orchestrated over the coming days for the Parly Choir’s carol concert and visit to Berlin, so it will be a busy time.  As I write this This Light Of Reason is only four hours or so away from springing to life for the first time, so this will be a slightly nervous afternoon.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it all goes.

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