It was not the most exciting weekend – if anything it was a little on the dull side – but I have been ticking along on a couple of pieces in the background, getting up early on occasion specifically to get my tapping out of the way before the world intrudes. I managed to finish a carol arrangement for Parliament Choir, which will hopefully make its way to rehearsal before too long, and also came close to completing another carol. It must be that time of year.

One day I will sit down and gather together all of my Advent/Christmas/Epiphany stuff, for there is now a vast amount of it, all the way from angular follies of my youth to much more assured arrangements of more recent times. It also happens that, being for general consumption, the language tends to be less edgy than in my instrumental and orchestral works, even if I do like to get my elbows out on occasion. Hopefully that makes it all easier to perform, easier to get into the repertoire.

The second of these new pieces is for a competition, because there are several of these around at the moment, a pleasant change after the tumbleweed silence of the pandemic. I suspect that this carol is a little too safe and straightforward for its purpose, but you never know, and I have won competitions with pieces before that I did not specifically rate, also failed to make shortlists with music that I thought was absolutely top-notch, but what do I know?

Every piece finished is an addition to the catalogue, though, and while some of them go into folders within folders others live closer to the surface, ready to be polished a little for other opportunities, should they arise. I have been dealing with one of these pieces recently, which I think is “quite good” (again, what do I know?), and which I would therefore like to see the light of day at some point, so we shall see how we go.

There are also other pieces on the table at the moment, of course, and this week I plan to do a couple of proper sessions on the orchestration of the symphony, to try to break the back of the first movement at least and maybe move into the second. I really should have this finished in all but the smallest of details by the end of the year, but there are several other writing duties to be done at the moment, so any delays on the symphony are really due to being busy elsewhere, which is probably a good way to be.

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