Things twist and turn and spin and change sometimes with astonishing speed, at other times so slowly that change is nearly imperceptible. I find all that movement, those circles within circles, deeply comforting, especially when I need to remind myself that sometimes there is progress taking place of which I have no knowledge. I speak in particular of professional things, but it also applies to other areas of life as well, to the way that the ever rolling stream passes by in different frame lengths, the minutiae of our day to day worries lost to the ether within a year, month, or even less. Put more succinctly, in a hundred years not much of this is going to matter.
However, certain things do matter now, and two performances this week have really cheered me up after the events of the preceding days, the first a brief run through of The Oxen by the Parliament Choir on Monday, the second an in-rehearsal performance of This Light Of Reason (with added cello!) yesterday evening in Bristol by the Exultate Singers.
The Parliament Choir I know well, of course, even though I am still a little nervous when I provide them with a new piece, almost as if I feel that I have been performing a high-wire act thus far and am surely destined for a fall at some point. The Oxen seems to have hit the spot upon first acquaintance, though, and I hope that they will grow into it in the way I hope that my music always grows after the first run.
Prior to last night’s rehearsal I did now know much about the Exultate Singers other than through contact with their director and founder David Ogden, but to say that I was impressed with what I heard would be significantly to undersell their quality, blend and precision. I sat there listening to This Light Of Reason for anything that was short of what I had wanted, but everything – every nuance, every tenuto, every marking – was there, so my thanks to them and to David, also very best wishes for what I am sure will be a wonderful concert on Sunday.
Part of the reason I was so upset about the whole Flyht thing is because really decent performances can be hard to find, let alone recordings of really decent performances. I know that I can rely on the Parliament Choir, but my music has been subjected to one or two really horrific interpretations over the years, including one crisis-inducing shambles of a performance by a severely hungover choir one Christmas Day, so to hear David and his choir commit to the This Light Of Reason so fully was a joy. I hear that kind of performance and think you know, maybe I’m not so bad at this thing. Maybe I should carry on for a bit longer.
Lastly to things moving at a more expansive pace, the result of all the work on the book by many, many people is coming to fruition. What I have seen looks fantastic, and on page 14 of this catalogue you can find some more information.