Yesterday was an interesting day, trouble hoving in on two separate fronts, neither one of which was down to me. Both, rather, were the product of other people not doing what they said they were going to do when they were going to do it. Whatever happened to underpromising and overdelivering?
The real aggravation of all this is that one makes assumptions and undertakings based on the information given, and then has to go back on those when other people prove to have been overambitious with their imaginations. It does not look good, but you hope that your reputation will be enough to see things through.
I am constantly surprised by the number of composers I bump into who seem totally unable to produce a finished piece of music and a performable set of parts in time for the long-scheduled first rehearsal. Of course, sometimes events may occur that are simply too much for a deft side-step, but even then there are ways and means of working around problems.
Some of it, I think, is just a lack of organisation, but possibly much of it is down to relying too much on inspiration and not enough on perspiration. There just is not enough craft taught to composers these days, that precious talent for being able to work one’s way out of a cul-de-sac.
Other things are just down to shambolic planning, though. I played for an orchestral rehearsal once where the entire orchestra took a sharp right turn about ten bars from the end of a particular movement. This was definitely not what the choir had been rehearsing for the past six months – these were new parts, not things that had been communicated to anybody not playing them. We took an executive decision there and then to stay with the old parts, applying a firm boot to the backside of the music to get it back into line.
It seems as though I will be applying more boots over the coming days, but I hope I can take enough time off from all that posterior-pedi-pressure-placement to keep momentum going on the orchestral piece. Given that it is so far ahead of the deadline that it has not even been commissioned yet I am not particularly worried, not yet anyway.