I sketched out the opening section of one of the later movements of the Dunstan cantata yesterday. At the moment this stands as the finale, though my feeling is that it should sit instead at the centre of the work.

Although at the moment this is little more than a nagging sound at the back of my mind, I have learned to recognise that feelings are there for a reason, that something we put down to a hunch is often a warning signal honed over millions of years of evolution. Admittedly, being uneasy about the order of the movements in a cantata is not quite the same as suspecting that there is a sabre-toothed tiger under the bed, but something feels not quite right.

It is not just that the text itself does not feel quite conclusive enough, it is also that the music that I am imagining has more of the function of the equivalent of a scherzo, something that would sit in the middle of a work rather than at the end. The usual feeling of various different elements all coalescing at the same time and in no particular order is certainly in the air.

The week ahead is not the clearest, I will admit, but I was happy with what I managed to produce in what were only thirty stolen minutes yesterday, a reminder to myself that sitting down and working, even for half an hour, is always more productive than intending to work for three and then abandoning the plan in a maelstrom of guilt and disappointment. I worked this way when back in London – little and often – and cannot remember quite why I got out of the habit.

It probably had something to do with a book or an album or a trip abroad or something similar. Well, none of those is on the horizon at the moment, Anghiari apart, so it is time to make hay while the rain falls outside, and brick by brick the cantata will be built and what is now merely suspicion may well become the obvious in very short order.

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