After a long stint on the cantata and an even longer stint on the symphony prior to that I took this week off and stepped away from the manuscript. There were a couple of performance-related things to be getting on with anyway, and I also took the opportunity to clear some things, long hidden in boxes, from various places in the house, which meant that this week, like the last, passed in a blur of dust, storage units, charity shops and recycling centres.

My small room still looks as though a whirlwind has gone through it, although there is definitely significantly less stuff lying around than there was, even if there are still piles in place for when I can next summon up the energy for a trip around the various destinations for my unloved possessions. I also managed to uncover a big box of CDs (yes, I still have them, yes, I am keeping them) which represented the middle of my Classical alphabet, so much Mahler in there to explore and some yummy Leighton as well.

We continued this week to rehearse the cantata prior to its first performance on the 3rd, and later today I shall be running through it with one of the soloists to make sure that they are happy with what they are doing. It also occurred to me a couple of days ago that I have not one but two cantata premières happening next month, for the Cantata Of Saint Dunstan is also due its first performance, long-delayed because of you-know-what.

It is interesting to look at those two pieces and reflect upon how my language has changed in the two and half years or so between them. There were other factors as well which need to be taken into consideration, such as a very tight deadline in Dunstan, but I think that my handling of large-scale form is a little more confident in Sight Adjusts Itself To Darkness, although the proof will come in the listening.

I think that the time spent on the symphony really has changed the way that I go about writing, even if that piece is still not quite finished, but, even so, the lessons I learned from it and the challenges I had to tackle have given me ideas that I probably would not otherwise have had. The quiet of this last week is not just a chance to take a breath, but also a deliberate decision to allow the latest tweaks to my writing to take their place in my subconscious, to let the brain have a little quiet on its own to forge new pathways. I am already hungry to see what happens in the next two pieces, a short work for choir and a larger piece for orchestra.