A brief internet outage yesterday, fixed via the trusty method of switching it off and back on again, drove me more quickly into the day’s composition than I had planned, but that was no bad thing. I ended up with a couple of pages of sketches, layouts and fragments of music that could end up being combined to vaguely exotic ends.
This is the new orchestral piece, and the layouts involve the placement of various musicians in different areas, something that does require careful planning because, as you will know if you have ever seen a musician try to get a double bass through a barrier on the Underground, some instruments are more portable than others.
What this means is that the instruments that move easily, the ones you might find in a marching band, can be placed further from the central area, while those that are less portable need to be closer in. My feeling thus far is that the instruments will only be played in situ and not on the move, so that alleviates some of the difficulty, but I still need to plan carefully.
At the same time as this spatial planning I need to sit down and discern with some care how the piece will unfold over time. With musicians in different areas and out of sight of any conductor the piece will need to be self-cueing, and that will also need me to solve some small notational difficulties.
Hopefully the result will be worth it, and I have a fair idea of what it will sound like, a rough impression of the trajectory of the work. More to come in the next few days, of course, but yesterday was the first moment of heavy lifting – amazing what you can get done without the internet in the way.