There have been many times over the past year when I have really had to force myself to work on the symphony, and putting it away has been something close to a relief. Only rarely do I find composition to be less than hard work, and often it feels like solving some kind of abstract problem up against a deadline but with only the most basic of clues as to what the solution might be.

Yesterday marked something novel, though, a session of work at the end of which I really felt that I could have gone on, a feeling exacerbated by the fact that I had to stop work rather than wanted to stop work. With a but of luck I shall be able to continue that momentum today and make the most of what has turned out to be a very early start.

The birds are highly active out here and ay this time of year begin their song at about four in the morning. While I am not yet out in the field with notepad and paper, à la Messiaen, I still cannot Рdare not Рget back to sleep once they have begun their chorus. It all begins to calm down around an hour later, which is when I am now writing, but by then I tend to be downstairs with the cat and the first coffee of the day for company, and maybe a blog or two.

Of course I could always sleep with the window closed, but it feels almost criminal to be letting all that wondrous chorus pass by on the other side of however many sheets of glass there are in a house’s windows, so I am happy to let it wash over me and, if necessary, do the civilised continental afternoon nap in order to catch up. If things go well I can also get ahead of the day and have most of my work done by the time the rest of the world has begun to stir in earnest.

I shall carry on today where I left off yesterday, and keep going until energy or imagination runs out, or until I come up against too much of a problem to solve without a break. If I am tired later at least I shall have that warm feeling of a decent morning’s work in the bank, and feel maybe less guilty about clocking off before the end of the day.