Friday, 3 March 2017

Now and Nene

I've been thinking it was March 1st all day today. I even managed to send out St David's Day greetings to some of my Welshie friends. It just goes to prove what a washout yesterday was!

Today found me throwing myself head first into the Nene. I've been making little musical notes for the piece for the last two months, but realised today that I simply needed to get on with it, so lined up a massive manuscript and started free-styling. I'm writing for an obscenely large orchestral ensemble and I sat and stared at the empty staves for some time, terrified about what I was about to do.

It turns out that I was ripe and ready to write, because the music flew out of me like water from a garden tap. I have set myself a target of writing one minute of fully-orchestrated music a day for the entire month, which means, by the end of March I should have a first draft of the piece to put away for a bit before going back in with a mallet, then a chisel, then a scalpel knife to make it shine like a thing of great sonic intricacy and beauty. That's the theory anyway!

I started about two fifths of the way through the composition, at the point where the river runs through the marshes at Denford in Northamptonshire. I started by scoring a melody I'd sung into my phone as I walked along the river in that area. Oddly, it was just after my accident, so I was limping like a tragic inadequate. I remember a woman walking past me as I was singing. She plainly thought I was a homeless person, shuffling along, talking to myself. Half-way through the recording, I break off from singing and say, "hello there." The woman doesn't reply. Plainly she thought her life was in danger and that she'd end up being dredged out of the river at Oundle.

I've been using oboes to sound like geese in the composition. It's not a difficult task. That's all oboes are actually good for, but, in a composition about a river, that's no bad thing.

Speaking of my epic walk, I'm proud to announce that my big toe nail has just dropped off. It got profoundly bruised, and never really recovered. It dropped off whilst I was watching the Gilmore Girls this evening. Rock and roll.

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