I am gradually clearing away the leftover items of the lockdowns, pieces of work that I had agreed to when times were quiet but which are now additions to the kind of regular diary I would like to have. I keep my fingers crossed that the way things are currently is how they are going to stay.

In terms of getting notes onto paper the week was fairly quiet, as I seemed to spend most mornings working my way through various charts for eighteen new songs which we were rehearsing on Thursday evening, we being Clyve’s Soul City Foundation. We’ll be at the Chapel Arts Centre in Bath on 10th December, so do please come along if you happen to be in the area and feel like having a really good time. Of course, we might not be allowed to do it come December, but let’s be optimistic about things.

Anyway, the rehearsal was intense, which was more or less as I had expected it to be, but the atmosphere in my corner was rendered easier and more effective by some tinkering I had done with the Korg, finally getting around to learning how to split the keyboard so that different sounds are represented in different areas. I have had the keyboard for a few years, but genuinely did not realise that this kind of setup was even a possibility until I saw a video in which the great Roger Manning Jr. was creating all manner of things from a single synth, and my eyes were opened.

In the background there were a few emails flying back and forth about the two new commissions, and it looks as though these will be a three minute choral work and a ten minute orchestral piece, which is very exciting indeed. I am pretty secure in my choral writing at the moment, but if somebody came towards me with a blank cheque and asked me what I wanted to write then at this moment I would go for an orchestral work.

It is not that I value choral writing any less than orchestral writing, but my catalogue is replete with my works for choirs, while those for orchestra, which are much trickier to get performed, are less numerous. I also know that I have a great deal to learn about writing for orchestras, and it is only truly through the doing that one gets to assimilate the information one needs. In other words, books on orchestration and the like are great foundational tools, but to build the edifice the music needs to go through the proving fire of performance.