You will have heard this before, no doubt, but I sat in a cafe in Bath yesterday and put some notes on paper for the new orchestral piece, a dab of a phrase here, a splash of a motif there.  It is early days for this and the material is still going through the very early phases of coalescence, but it will get there, I am sure.

Today, breakfast coffee taken, blog written, I shall sit down and do a little more scribbling before going off to do my civic duty and cast my vote in yet another election, after which the day awaits (possibly a little walking, a little gaming, a little more writing) and then the joy of staying up with James Naughtie on Radio 4 (such great company in so many ways) as the results come in.

The election has put a hole in my recent work, but all begins to return to as normal as it ever is next week, and already I feel a little pressure at the thought of timetables and commitments.  Still, the first event will be a day spent on Mozart’s Requiem – it could all so easily be so much worse.

I am trying to focus on the positives, taking onwards some of the ideas I expressed in my last post, not just because I think it is the healthy and correct thing to do, but also because the predicament of a long-standing friend, apparently nearing their last hours, has driven my thoughts towards what one’s life ought to be like.

Whether father, pet or friend, there has been a fair amount of this stuff around in the past few months, and although it must perforce redefine one’s view a little, it is important to fight against it redefining one’s life for the worst.  I was in Rhossilli on Tuesday and found a pictorial tribute to one of its sons, Edgar Evans, who died on the ice with Captain Scott and his crew, along with the lines from Tennyson’s Ulysses quoted on his memorial.  I would not say that Tennyson is among my very favourite poets (step forward Hardy and Larkin) but these are lines I find relevant, whether in general, when thinking of creating music, or even when one’s thoughts turn to a fading friend:

and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
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