Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Squirrel whisperer

I sat at the kitchen table pretty much all day today. I've been working on an arrangement of one of Nathan's songs which is called Bouncing Back and is, without question, the campest song in the show! I think, whatever the subject matter, there's always room for a light-hearted romp of a tune, even if it's part of some kind of nightmare sequence!

My other task today was to put the final touches to the fourth draft of a big argument song in the show, which I wrote before Christmas and Nathan developed yesterday.

We still have three songs to write, including one which we're in complete denial about. I can almost guarantee that this one will be the last song which gets written, and only out of complete and utter necessity because everything else has been done. The creative team will be literally spitting blood to get it from us.

The terrifying news for me is that once a song is completed as a tune for piano and vocals the hard work really begins because it all has to be orchestrated. That's when the musical colours start blending in fabulous ways...

Scoring this particular show will be the antithesis to scoring Brass. Where the latter features a 23-piece orchestra, Beyond the Fence is scored for just six musicians, which means I have to think really hard about the instruments I have and the different timbres I can eek out of them. Brass was orchestral, Beyond the Fence is band-based. Chalk and cheese. Actually, I don't really know why chalk and cheese gets said. Cheese and concrete would probably be a better comparison for two things which perhaps look similar on the surface...

There's not a great deal more to write. When I'm holed up in the kitchen composing, words largely vanish from my mind.

We went for a little stroll to clear our heads before lunch and found ourselves gambolling through Queen's Wood, which, today was full of hundreds of frolicking squirrels - all in pairs. I wondered whether they were courting. The sun was shining and I have a horrible feeling they think it's spring and that a cold snap in February could make it very hard for them to bring up their young. Call me the squirrel whisperer.

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