Where to start with yesterday, the day that kept on giving but, for once, in a genuinely fine manner? Admittedly it was the now-traditional early start and the late arrival home, but I am more or less used to that by now. Instead it was the other news that made the day stand out.
As you will already know if you have sold your soul to my Twitter account or been anywhere near me yesterday, I have been awarded the Cantata commission for the 2020 Mayfield Festival. A meeting yesterday lunchtime to go over the details and I was able to announce something I had known for a few days but had to keep as under my hat as possible until the news was good to go. This is for a big piece – choir, orchestra, soloists – about St. Dunstan who, by felicitous happenstance, was born less than ten miles from where I live in Somerset. Baltonsborough, here I come, and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to get my teeth into what will be a very big piece of work.
Then, of course, there was the first performance of A Certain Everlasting Polyphony. After two entirely false starts on writing this piece third time was the charm, and the Parliament Choir took to it right from the start. Directed by Simon Over, supported musically by Southbank Sinfonia and financially by no less an organisation than UKspace, my only regret was that my seat at the organ was behind the orchestra and singers, but by all accounts the effect of the performance was electric.
A certain very important but not self-important person who knows an awful lot about music came to seek me out after the performance for a quick chat and to congratulate me on the work, which was a delight. When somebody who knows what they are doing finds you to tell you that you know what you are doing it means a great deal and I was a very happy chappy. The singers and the orchestra also seemed delighted with the piece, and it was particularly heartening to hear that the players really enjoyed having something to dig into, a lesson to be learned for me.
But there’s more. There was also an enquiry about a performance of This Light Of Reason in November in Bristol, the piece I was asked to write in memory of Jo Cox MP. The commissioner and I had always hoped that this piece would spread out gradually like the candle light that its text describes, so this is yet more very positive news.
I am sure that there is something that I have forgotten to mention, but it was such a blur of good compositional happenings yesterday that I could probably be forgiven for having something slip my mind. I arrived home just before one o’clock in the morning and gave Dylan the cat, who was delighted and apparently quite surprised to have me home, a long cuddle, unboxed a late birthday present that turned out to involve multiple uses of the word Tempranillo, and then said goodbye to a positive and wholly satisfying day.