Well, I might not emerge from the ruins of post-pandemic society having learned a new language or written a book but I am becoming gradually more convinced that I shall come out of all this with a symphony. I listened to the whole thing through from top to bottom yesterday morning in its piano version and apart from one or two clunks which need to be finessed a little it is more or less there.

In fact, there are a couple of moments that I am quite pleased with, and I feel that the narrative of the work – the pacing and the ebb and flow – is decently balanced. It feels like a symphony and it sounds like a symphony, and what is more, it feels and sounds like my symphony.

There is a long way to go before it is finished, however, that whole journey of orchestration still to come, but it is surely a good sign that I am already thinking along those lines, that I know that the hard work of writing the thing is nearly done. I nag myself that I could have done it all more quickly and with more dedication, but actually I did need to leave it be from time to time in order to come back to it afresh and to let the ideas coalesce.

The plan had been to have the piano score finished by the end of June and I have more or less hit that target, which gives me a couple of months to get the orchestration done if I am to achieve my aim of having the entire piece finished by the beginning of September. Given that we may – just – be out of any kind of lockdowny restrictions by then it really will be a product of the pandemic.

Whether that comes out in the music is something I am not sure about. I feel that it may, but I would be hard pushed to say where specifically the music and the writing have changed apart from the fact that the whole thing feels much darker than I ever thought it might be or initially intended it to be. It is quite exciting to see the end in sight, but this end is only really another beginning, that of seeing whether it ever gets performed at which point, of course, you will be able to make up your own mind about what this particular music is trying to say.