When I left the burrow yesterday morning I had no idea that I would be quite as tired in the evening as I turned out to be, but it was a day crammed with work and travel that took me in a large loop from Hounslow to Ickenham to Kensington to Temple and then back to Hounslow. Thankfully it was also a day crammed with decent work and runs through a couple of my pieces as well.
I resisted the urge to do very little in the afternoon and instead took the opportunity to do some more work on the most recent piece. This is going through a really interesting stage of gathering material and ideas, by which I mean that the rather banal opening sketches are yielding developments which mean that those opening sketches can then be recast in the light of the more recent writing.
It is proof yet again not to be critical of those first ideas but instead to view them as seeding the creative ground. After a while the shoots appear and then, at length, they will bear fruit and yield seeds of their own, an interesting and organic process.
In the evening we ran through The Oxen and We Three Kings in rehearsal with the Parliament Choir, and I think that the latter has stood up well over the seven years since its first performance. Putting it next to the new composition was also intriguing, because I can see ways in which my language and technique have developed, and while I am sure that these changes would be all but invisible to most people, to me it comes down to that strange quality of confidence and assurance.
I am sure that I will feel differently about The Oxen once we have left it behind and moved on, but it strikes me as being solidly written. The language is decidedly not avant-garde, which is not what the piece requires, but I think that it does what it does well, and hopefully it will stand the test of time and the attentions of me, its harshest critic.