Being both boss and worker in the same body comes with advantages and disadvantages, although whether something is good or bad can often depend upon which particular voice – employer or employee – is loudest in my ear at that particular point. Last week had a rare and satisfying amount of balance, so that I made good progress on the cantata while still allowing myself a little time off and opportunities to be out and about.

At the back of my mind I think that I have been telling myself that today, Monday 9th, is the real return to work and that last week was simply a transition. My intention over the weekend has been to gird up my compositional loins (I find the idea of compositional loins faintly disturbing) and to impose some kind of order on the coming months and, importantly, the first half of next year.

I would hope that by the end of this week the main thrust of work on the cantata will be compete, allowing me a fortnight to refine details, listen, listen again and listen once more to get a feel of the flow of the whole thing. That would then leave me two weeks before the deadline for the complete piano score to tinker and adjust the smaller elements, proof everything, and get it set properly and accurately enough for it not to need any changes before the first performance next year.

The process of orchestration will then begin in October, although I tend to find this a more pleasurable part of writing, for the structural and intellectually rigorous parts of the musical argument will have been done and this is instead the addition of the foliage to the tree. Although the orchestra is not going to be full size, it will still have enough flexibility to achieve what I would like it to do.

Also today, after what I think even the most myopic of optimists would call a dramatic few days, the Parliament Choir will return after their summer break, back to work on The Dream Of Gerontius. I cannot speak for them, but I imagine that a decent number of our singers will be looking forward to getting on with something that takes their minds off other matters, even if only for a couple of hours, and if I can help provide them with an evening of pleasure and refreshment then I shall be very happy indeed.

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