Every now and again a large project comes along that casts a shadow over a long period of time, from its moment of conception to the time when the final files are sent off. The bigger the piece the more significant the shadow, of course, and it can last for months at a time.
My two large-scale cantatas, 1215: Foundation Of Liberty and Cantata Of Saint Dunstan have been the biggest projects in my catalogue to date, both of them pieces over half an hour long for soloist, chorus and full orchestra. One day I shall write something bigger, maybe a chamber opera or a symphony, but for now these are the two most significant works in my output.
From the moment the first sketches were put onto paper to the final performance in each case was around a year of concentrated work, for not only does the music have to be composed and orchestrated, but then the entire thing needs to be produced in vocal and full scores and the parts proofed and printed. 1215 also went through some frantic last minute adjustments which still now bring me out in a cold sweat when I think about them.
Dunstan will have a much more relaxed journey into the world, I am sure, for as of yesterday the score and the parts are done minus any very small moments of tinkering that might become apparent, but otherwise it is time to put my work on the cantata to bed and now to leave it to the performers. The first performance is a couple of months away, on the 26th of April, by which time I will already be further along my catalogue of compositions.
It has been around eleven months since the first contact was made about the cantata, and I still need to write a few links for the concert, so in the end it has worked out to about a year from start to finish. All told this has been a most pleasurable experience, supported by some very fine people, and I only hope that they, the performers and audience feel that their confidence was well placed.