…and I’m back in the room. It all went a bit quiet there on the blog for a while, but I never forgot about writing it, just kept stumbling against various obstacles and impediments, some of them getting in the way for good reason, others just plain old obstructive. I also ran into one of the busiest weeks of the year which nudged up against a couple of personal matters and that just took the wind out of my tattered sails a little, but, with a little patching here and there and the sense that the winds are picking up again, we are off once more on the journey.

There were, however, a couple of spectacularly restorative oases over the past month, including some fantastic singing at Christ Church on Good Friday and over the Easter weekend, and a visit from a friend from the other side of the planet, which resulted in a large amount of high-quality gaming, which was just what the doctor ordered, if the doctor could send you away with a prescription for your first win at Eldritch Horror, but it was fun and it was good and that, really, should be the focus of life. There was also a very fine RetroChic gig for good measure, with an audience who definitely wanted us to be there, which does not always happen.

The musical focus at the moment as far as composition is concerned is still the symphony, and after yet another pause for breath before attempting to ascend the next hill I have finally got to the stage where the end – or at least the definite beginning of the end – is in sight. The strings are all marked up and articulated, likewise the percussion, and I am half way through the brass with only the winds to follow, probably only a few sessions of work. I keep getting the nagging (and therefore probably correct) feeling that a glockenspiel needs to go into the ending, and that a third timp would not go amiss, so the final buffer is still some way off, but by the end of the month I might actually be able to send a pdf off for printing and end up with a physical copy in my hands, which would be, well, something.

I also zipped along to the website for the London Festival Of Contemporary Church Music on a hunch, as their emails have been quiet and the Festival is only a few weeks away, and discovered that my Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis on C is down for a performance (its first) as well as the organ piece An Exaltation Of Skylarks, which will be getting its second outing. At least, those are the listings that I discovered after my very brief and very superficial perusal, but they are both good news, both positive, both reminders that on a good day I can do this thing.

In the background of it all, like a huge ocean liner blocking out the skyline on the horizon, is the Parliament Choir’s performance of The Dream Of Gerontius in Rome. This. Coming. Weekend. We had a dry run at Smith Square on Saturday and it sounded fantastic, positively apocalyptic (can an apocalypse be positive?) in places, utterly tender and otherworldly in others. The stories say that over a thousand tickets have already gone, and with a choir of well over three hundred it should be a once-in-a-lifetime event. I have no doubt that it will sit alongside the Notre Dame experience in my mind, aware that it will be hard and demanding work, also that it will mark the culmination of the unstinting efforts of many, many people, from Simon and outwards to innumerable others. Like the day I finally get to hold my symphony in my hands, it will definitely be something.