I made some good progress on the new piece yesterday morning and afternoon in terms of the number of notes on the page, but the more I write the less I am convinced about the quality of the notes on the page. It could be worse, but I do have a fairly good idea about what is wrong and how it might very well be substantially improved, although whether I have enough time to do that before the piece needs to be submitted is not a given.
Knowing where to improve is a pretty good thing, though, for if I sat there aware that something was amiss but unable to put my finger on it then I really would be stuck. That analytical approach that took me through all those harmony and counterpoint classes does come in useful, it seems, even if I often find it quite obstructive in terms of my writing.
A good session tomorrow might well get me over the tipping point of this particular music, as I feel that once the structure is all fleshed out with notes then I can begin to tinker and refine, listen back and hear where the balance is askew or the scale pattern not quite right. I have done this before many times with my sketches, and my ear is sometimes able to pick up on deficiencies about which my brain had no idea at all, a blessing and a curse.
Once this piece is out of the way, which should be by the weekend, then there is another small one to which I should be able to apply the lessons learned here, and then also the symphony, of course. Even on the days when I am not working with the notes on this piece the ideas are always swimming around my head, fragments here and fragments there, snippets in search of a structure.
It seems hard to believe that it is over a year since I began my sabbatical and nearly a year since the pandemic hit. The sabbatical is long over, of course, but the return to work was hardly what it might have been in normal times, but with the end in sight even survival to this point needs to be seen as a positive, and if I get the symphony finished by June then at least I will be able to come out of this and say Look what I wrote!, gently drawing a veil over all those acres of time spent doing not very much in particular.