I had a great session with my saxophonist colleague yesterday, tweaking a couple of elements here and there, developing material, and rehearsing in preparation for our first batch of recordings later in the year.  It was another eight hour shift, so no time for my own writing, but it was still informative and illuminating work.

As I write this the view from my window is covered in white, and the forecast here is for more snow to come down through the afternoon and evening.  When I moved here the only thing truly to concern me was being trapped by the snow, and it now seems that it will have happened twice in the space of a single month, once when I could not get home and once when I could not get out.

Crises and opportunities, however, and free time always means an chance to get some composition done, and I really am in the mood to pile ahead with the Missa Loquebantur Variis Linguis, remaining convinced that this could be in a fully sketched state even by the end of the week.  There are still some fundamental decisions to be made regarding the work, but those can be done in the writing, I think.

One of the quirks of collaborating with Mr. Saxophone is that he works with a newer version of Sibelius on his computer, so while mine plays a fragment of the sixth symphony when it loads up (Sibelius 6), his plays a glorious moment from the seventh.  Unfortunately his computer was having one of those days yesterday when it does nothing and then loads up several versions of the same thing, so we were inundated by overlapping renditions of Sib 7 from morn until eve – I was in hog heaven, my colleague less so.

I wonder what Sibelius meant by that music, abstract on the surface but surely expressing something underneath.  To me the seventh is about the life force, about the will to live, about inexorable rhythms that will continue long after we are gone, and that moment that is played when Sib 7 loads is like a huge wave crashing down upon the shore and then withdrawing as fragments of its former self.  As I look out at the snow this morning I think, again, of Sibelius.

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