I did a little writing yesterday, jotting down some preliminary ideas on a couple of new pieces for submissions, one for later in the year and one for the end of the month, which is a fairly tight deadline. Thanks to a suggestion from somebody else in the house (clue: not the cat) I have some quite fresh ideas for the latter, and, thanks to my own suggestions, I do not think that the doodles for the former piece are too shabby either.
As usual I doubt my ability to get the pieces done, for the route ahead looks almost entirely blank, as it most often does when starting something new. At least I have learned over the years that the best place to begin is often at the end, for if you know where you need to go then you can begin plotting how to get there.
The ending of the symphony, for example, only recently gave me some fresh material for earlier in the movement, getting me out of a creative hole that had lasted for a while, and the ideas for these two new pieces seem to be strong enough to be able to generate the material that will ultimately lead to my arriving there. It actually feels a little exciting.
This whole thing is a compositional trick anyway, as so many things are, similar to the coda of the final movement of Mozart’s last symphony. We marvel at the way that, just as the piece is about to finish, he heads off into a new area in which he combines five (yes, five!) of the themes previously heard in the movement and wonder how on earth he did it, but the truth is that he must have begun at that point and then continued working with the themes that emerged. Elgar apparently used to begin with the climaxes and then work out how to get there, a wise approach.
Elgar, though, knew that composition was damned hard work, wise beneath his whiskers, and for all that Mozart myth about it coming easily to him, we do need to acknowledge that even for him it was also as a product of damned hard work. Time for me to stop blogging, then, and get on with some more notes, work out how I am going to end up where I want to be.