I had a bit of a wobble at the beginning of last week about the new cantata. It meant that I went into the Parliament Choir rehearsal on the first movement of the piece feeling the sands shifting slightly under my feet, which is unusual, as I know that every note is in its place for a reason and draw confidence from that process, having made hundreds, possibly thousands of microdecisions to get to that stage.

At least after forty three years of writing music I am getting to the point where I am starting to have belief in what I am doing – not the arrogance I had all those years ago, but the knowledge of how to wield my tools – and thankfully I have enough of a catalogue of decent works to be able to give myself a pep talk if needed. Anyway, the thing about Parly Choir is that they always dive into what I have written for them without hesitation. They know my style and know also that some pieces take a little time to reveal themselves, and this new cantata is definitely one of those, so I am glad that they are with me on this journey.

Only a couple of days later I received an email from the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music to inform me that of my five submissions (the maximum allowed) for this year’s event all five had been accepted for circulation. As one does, the expectation is to scroll down the email and find Thank you, but… except that here the word Accepted popped up almost half a dozen times.

Of those five pieces, one is unperformed, so there might be a première in there, which would be fantastic, but the other pieces are all decent enough to be heard more often, I think, so for them to be put in front of curious eyes is great news. Although by this stage I had already de-wobbled myself, convinced myself that I know what I am doing and, more importantly, why I am doing it, it was still heartening to have confirmation that some other people might have the same opinion.

As for the cantata, though, I imagine that many of the Parly Choir singers went away with questions about the piece, which is actually how I want things to be, for my music aspires to be something that reveals itself over time and renewed acquaintance rather than all at once. It plays the long game, definitely so in this cantata, in which only the first of seven movements has thus far seen the light. Personally, though, I went away from the rehearsal in a great mood, for Parly Choir had, as always, dug right in and made my music already sound better than I had imagined it to be, the ultimate confidence booster, and then I got scribbling later in the week on the other movements, inspired by what I had heard.