It was a quieter day yesterday after all the minor provincial drama of the day before, and the hours passed without helicopters, police dogs, vans and the like. I wrote a lengthy email to a compositional colleague with whom I have not been in touch for a while, listened to some choral works by Francis Pott, and dabbed a couple more notes onto the orchestral movement.
After a bit of a slump when I realised that I would probably not be able to finish this by the required deadline I perked up a bit when I discovered that I had mixed up my dates, that in fact I have slightly longer to get this piece written than I had imagined. Not only does this mean that I might have a chance to get it finished by the deadline, but it also allows me to take a little more time to make sure that at least some of the rough edges have been smoothed out.
I also spent a little while yesterday afternoon listening to some of my other orchestral movements, most of which exist only on Sibelius, of course, as they have never been encountered in the real world, and the experience was…neutral, I would say. Most of these pieces, which are somewhere between sketch and completeness show potential, I think, but I always hear them and find them a little rough and ready.
Thankfully, though, there are pieces out there that I think work quite well, and I am lucky in some cases to have recordings of these with decent sound quality and good performances. Of course there are the few works that have ended up on CD (and, in one notable case, been taken off again swiftly thereafter), but there are some others as well.
Listening to these reminded me that being able to work on a piece while possessing the time to refine it as much as I possibly can is what tends to bring out the best results in my writing, and that bigger canvasses, such as the current one for orchestra, require exponentially more work. I need to remember that the next time I sit down and tell myself that I can do something within a tight deadline, as those should be for emergencies only.