If you squint enough then even listening to music could just about be construed as research into composition, as long as one is listening intently enough and to the correct material. If (if!) such is the case then at least I did a little composition yesterday, although the morning was spent unpacking another couple of long dormant cardboard boxes and getting their contents out onto the shelves.

The majority of the shelves are not in any particular order, but eventually I hope to have all the vocal scores in one place, all the organ music near the organ, and so on. Box number two of the morning gave up the remainder of my Dover scores upon which I spent most of what was then a student grant.

I had wondered whether I really wanted to keep these, because space is at something of a premium chez ukcomposer and all those scores are now available as downloads, but there is, I think, intrinsic value in the physical object, and as a fully paid up admirer of the Folio Society (start with Heaney’s translation of Beowulf with the original and modern English on facing pages and go from there) I know that my heart would never forgive me for letting these go, however tech savvy I might like to be seen to be.

Likewise with my CDs, many of which come with memories attached. So many that emerged from the boxes were discs about which I had totally forgotten, including the one I am listening to as I write this – Dmitri Alexeev, Jerzy Maksymiuk and the ECO performing the Shostakovich Piano Concerti in luminous and brilliant detail. Once upon a time my life had a soundtrack almost from morning to night, and such might happen again if all goes well.

Following such a recording with the score open in front of me has always been one of my greatest pleasures, but I genuinely cannot remember the time that I last did it. In practical terms it enables the listener to find detail that might otherwise be missed in the recording, but it is also an education, composition study without really doing much work at all, and amen to that.