I spent Friday and the weekend on a two-pronged approach to work, writing definitions and a couple of replacement entries for the book, and forging ahead on the cantata. The former inches ever closer towards being finished while the latter continues to make good progress.
As far as the cantata is concerned, thankfully I have experience of writing something similar before, the piece for the Magna Carta celebrations, 1215: Foundation Of Liberty. That work ran for about an hour or so of music, so the forty minutes needed for this piece should hopefully not prove to be excessively difficult.
One of the most tricky moments in a piece of this size is deciding where to start, for an introduction should really introduce material that reappears later, although how can one know what will be important at that stage of the writing? I read once that Elgar would begin with the big moments, work out where he was meant to get to, and then add in detail from there.
For 1215 I seem to remember starting pretty much slap bang in the middle of the piece, while for the Dunstan cantata I am here, there and everywhere, four of the five movements currently sketched at least in part. Admittedly, that sketching is often not much more than a single line followed by several empty bars, but, like Elgar’s big moments, at least it gives me something to work with and head towards.
The rhythm of the coming week will be slightly different than before, but I think I am right in saying that the book is slowly going to fall away and that instead I will be able to concentrate almost entirely on the cantata. Well, that and the Anghiari introductions, of course, but at least both of them are currently light in terms of time pressures.