I have ploughed on with my writing on the new cantata this week, adding notes to paper and screen so that the structure of the work can stand on its own. By the end of the month it looks like I will have the choral parts finished and ready for rehearsal so that we can really begin to dig into this and start to appreciate how the whole thing hangs together.

It seemed as though the choir had fun with it last Monday evening, although much of that was to do with the text – sour grapes for sour dead and, more amusingly or chards for orchards. It will take some time for the choir to gain proper perspective on the piece, but I hope that it will make progressively more sense as we move onwards.

I am getting the feeling that this is shaping up to be a good piece, even if only half written, and that it will do what it sets out to do and, more importantly, what it was commissioned to do. I hope that people will stay with me on the journey as the new movements are unveiled and eventually the whole thing stands on its own with the scaffolding taken away and the covering removed.

So, yes, another week of having faith in the security of my own judgements and so on despite the voices in my head. To me in rehearsal it has sounded fantastic, better than I could have hoped, and I really do feel that my writing has taken a significant step forward since I did all that intensive work on the symphony. Maybe some of that piece’s darkness has transferred itself to the cantata, but for pieces that were written in a pandemic and at least one of which is specifically about the pandemic, what should one expect?

In terms of writing, the three choral movements are now more or less complete – movement one has been in its more-or-less final version for over a week now – so all that remains for those is to flesh out the accompaniment and keep sanding off the rough edges until everything is as good as it can possibly be. At that point I shall turn my attention to the movements for our two soloists, which should be ready by the middle of February, and then the piece will be done and it will be on to the next one.