I spent Saturday in the company of the Parliament Choir and other singers from Coventry, St. Albans and other places besides, rehearsing The Dream Of Gerontius for our concerts in November. This was emphatically the meeting when the music really came together for the choir (or choirs, to be more precise) and, impressed as I was before, I went away thrilled by the subtlety and imagination of Elgar’s vision and the extraordinary way that he orchestrates for voices, and a goodly part of this was thanks to the fine efforts of the singers.
Without doubt ours will be a better performance than the one that brought the piece into the world, and I wonder if Elgar ever really experienced the piece as he imagined it. He was certainly somebody well versed in amateur choirs, but I would wager that he would have been very pleased indeed with our efforts on Saturday.
Around and about that day I continued tapping away on new pieces, proofing the new carol for the Parliament Choir, which I have just now sent off, tweaking a couple of very small details, as well as beginning another carol and a larger piece for a competition. It has been heartening to be reminded that I do compose when I have enough time to be able to dedicate to it, which bodes well for next year.
This week I shall be sorting out the audio files for the Cantata Of Saint Dunstan and then, maybe next week rather than this, I shall set to work on the orchestration. It promises to be a busy but fulfilling month.
I would have done some more work yesterday evening after my drive up to London, were it not for the fact that Astrid (the Astra) suffered the calamitous failure of a rear tyre just after I got to the M3. I huddled for a couple of hours in a gap in the thorn bushes before a lovely chap came and rescued me, thoughtfully passing over the opportunity to comment on Astrid’s slightly mile-worn appearance, so my arrival in London was three and a bit hours later than I had planned and what writing I would have done has had to be shifted to today, but I was ahead in any case so am pretty relaxed about the whole episode.