Monday, 23 February 2015

Crisp packets and sequins

Hail was falling from the sky today whilst the sun shone. It was a curiously sight. The sunlight made the individual hailstones look like little sequins. I spent some time looking for a rainbow - or, I guess, more appropriately a "hailbow," but none seemed to exist. Perhaps the individual particles are too large to create that particular effect.

Everyone was talking about the weather everywhere I went today. "Hasn't it got cold again?" "It's getting into my bones." "The wind was shaking my house, I tell you..,"

I worked all day on the brass band arrangements of A Symphony For Yorkshire. I'm not sure why they're taking so long. I think maybe it's because I'm still attempting to crack the form. Writing for brass band seems to be a rather delicate balancing act which involves finding  combinations of different groups of instruments. Individual parts are not always self-balancing as they would be in a choir or a string quartet. If everyone's playing at the same time, for example, an individual horn part is very unlikely to be heard, yet each of the three horns traditionally has its own part. Put that against six cornets playing a single cornet line, and you need to start being clever with who plays what and when!

I went back to the gym this afternoon. It was painful. The cold has definitely not left my body, so I limped on the tread mill like a critic packet at the bottom of an escalator.

This evening I had a rehearsal with the Fleet Singers, which started with a soprano sectional and then became a full choir rehearsal. The altos were a little disappointing, I felt. We'd done such good work in sectionals the week before, but they'd become all timid and seemed to be waiting - en masse - for somebody else in the section to come in! We'll get there. When they're on their game, the section sounds genuinely lovely. There are some beautiful individual singers in there.

Nathan popped into the rehearsal and sang the opening number of the piece. He is singing the solos in the composition, which are settings of Betjeman poems. I rather like to think of Nathan playing the role of Betjeman himself and I must find a straw hat for him to wear. Anyway, he sang beautifully and I was very proud of him, and relieved that the music sounded so nice. One of the sopranos told me today that my music always makes her smile, because it's "happy music." It was a wonderful thing to hear. I like the thought of putting a smile on anyone's face, but I was also a little surprised as I think the music I write is actually quite sad. Perception is a funny thing.

I'm currently in Hove Actually, wending my merry way to Fiona's house in the freezing cold and ludicrous gales! We'll be mixing another four Brass songs with PK. Slowly getting there...

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