I was back with the symphony yesterday morning, continuing my work on the first movement and adding some inner lines to various sections where things were just a little static, the outlines sketched but the internal workings still blank. These need to be refined a little – a note here and a note there – but they are working well as temporary scaffolding for now.

Because it feels as though this first section is close to being fully written in its first draft I have now begun to listen to it intently, without the score in front of me, in order to get an impression of how it travels in time. Over and over again it goes round, and I am happy enough with how it sits together at the moment to let it run occasionally into the second span.

The further I go into the piece the less material there is, so there are some ominous silences and single strands around, but those first twelve minutes or so are working well, and the foundations of the piece are articulated clearly enough to be heard without making the music sound too earthbound. As an unexpected bonus, there is some material towards the start which I feel is underused, so I think that I can use it both to balance the piece and to plug some gaps in the final movement as well, a win-win situation.

I had given myself a fortnight, more or less, to get to grips with each movement, and even though I have made good progress here, enough to push onwards, I do not want to leave this material quite yet. I have the luxury of time on my hands at the moment, so will continue with that intensive listening over the next days.

I do feel at the stage where the orchestration is ready to be written for this first section, though, so I may well begin to rescore the version for piano over the next couple of days, something I had intended to leave until much later but which I feel comfortable getting on with now. I like the music enough in the version for computer-generated piano, but now I am impatient to hear what it might sound like in its adult plumage.