I am just back home from the first performance of Sight Adjusts Itself To Darkness, which came at the end of a weekend of intensive work with Parliament Choir in Oxford. We performed it alongside the Duruflé Requiem and we had an encouragingly large audience as well who had come to hear what we had to offer.

The final rehearsal, just before the performance, was the first time that the cantata had been run through from start to finish, complete with the solo movements and the narrations, and therefore the first time that the entire thing had been experienced by anybody outside the confines of my head. It seemed to work well, and I received many positive comments from audience members, so I think it is fair to say that the piece has had an effect, even if it feels strange to feel that the work now belongs to other people, that it is now longer only rattling around my brain.

We do it all again on Wednesday evening, of course, which is good for the choir, for the first performance can sometimes feel a little tentative (even if this one felt very secure), but the second can be delivered with a little more confidence. On the whole, though, I was delighted with the way that it went, and thrilled, as always, that the choir were prepared to dig in and keep at a work that was delivered to them in bits and pieces, whose gaps were only filled in their imaginations an hour or so before we first performed it publicly.

Quite apart from the music making over the weekend there was also a genuine sense of delight at being able to spend so much time in each other’s company after such a disruptive two years. We have been rehearsing, naturally enough, but that social aspect of the choir’s existence that was so important has been on hold for too long, so this was a chance to catch up and share stories, both good and bad.

Both musically and socially, therefore, the weekend was quite intense, and my shoulders are certainly feeling the effects of over ten hours at the keys over the past couple of days, but I am happy that the new cantata now exists in the real world, grateful too for the efforts of everybody who helped to bring it to life. At some point I need to start planning the new orchestral piece, but maybe not for a couple of days yet, as Wednesday is a repeat of the same concert, but this time at Clement Danes, so I need to focus on that for the time being.