You need a pretty thick skin to be a composer, and I think that has probably always been the case through the years. While I have never quite got into a fist fight to defend my music a la Piazzolla I still feel pretty protective of my work. After all, there is usually blood, sweat, tears, heart and soul therein, even if some people may not think that it always sounds like it.
Yesterday brought a distinctly low blow, however. I was updating my composition CV for an application, needed to bring some of the details up to date and, as is the way of things, went to check that the catalogue numbers of the recordings that exist were correct. Thus I found myself at the website of EM Records to check the details of their recording of Flyht which was released in 2014 alongside works by Stanford and Parry…
…except that Flyht is no longer there. The disc has been reissued, it seems, with one piece – mine – removed and another work substituted in its place. The original track listing appears to have disappeared from Spotify too, but I have my own copy of the disc sitting to my left as I write this, so I know that I have not been hallucinating even if from the tone of this post you might be able to gather that this all took me rather by surprise.
I checked in case Flyht had migrated to another disc, but it appears to have been quietly airbrushed out of history, rather like a purged dissident. You will have guessed that the first I knew of this was yesterday, and although I need to balance my current feelings with my gratitude for having had the piece recorded in the first place I still feel distinctly winded, especially as it also appears that the piece can no longer be heard. Soon, no doubt, the original album will be entirely replaced by the new version and the recording of Flyht, in which I own no rights because composers have no rights to recordings of their work, will become totally inaccessible once copies of the first edition are no more.
Heaven knows what the people I have directed to the CD will have thought I was playing at, probably that I was even more of a deluded fantasist than they thought, but on we go. Coming very hot on the heels of an email chasing up an unpaid commission fee you could say that yesterday was a distinctly bruising experience.