Among the items that awaited me upon my return home from a little breakette was a small package from Ireland, and contained therein was a copy of the new disc from Saint Fin Barre’s Cathedral in Cork. Tucked there at the end of the track listing is the Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on Bb, which won their composition competition earlier this year.
Although I wanted to do the honourable thing and listen to the disc from top to tail, I was being egged on by my other half, so skipped right to the Mag & Nunc to hear what the end result was. It would also be the first time that I had heard this piece for many months, as I had long since moved on to new projects.
Firstly, the recording and the singing is genuinely impressive, and it is clear that they have given the various pieces real care and attention, but listening to my own work was slightly uncomfortable, like hearing something by somebody else entirely, but with the added pressure of wondering, after all this time, if it is really any good. One moves on so swiftly when writing music that even something a year old feels as if it is written in a past language, so that first run through was a distinctly out-of-body experience.
My second run, with the score open in front of me, was much more satisfying in terms of valuing what I had written, especially since those nerves about the performance itself had been laid to rest, so, yes, I am happy with the piece but, of course, delighted with the choir’s rendition of it. The rest of the disc – repertoire and performances – is also impressive, and there are some fine singers in that choir with confident and distinctive characters.
Of the composers with whom I share that disc it is Mendelssohn who came most to the fore when I listened through – such a craftsman – but Stanford too, people who knew which notes were meant to go where, something that I often struggle to work out. So another piece on CD it is, another small step forwards…and on we go.