artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
...just not posting much.

This week I have been mostly writing a Magnificat, which I've sent off for a competition entry; and messing about with a draft of a piece from a few months ago. Think I nearly have the layout sorted now; it's in 12 parts, and the piano reduction was a bit monstrous to piece together.

Last week I was putting the final touches on a setting of a poem by one of my patrons, commissioned by his wife for an important birthday. He seems pleased with it, and I'll go and see them both for a picnic tomorrow.

Today I was with London Gallery Quire for the first of two recording days for our new CD. It was enjoyable, the Quire is an amateur group and the CD is not going to be perfect. I felt we could have done a bit more, but also that there is wisdom in quitting while you are singing well and feeling good; I think definitely stopped at a good time.

Monday I'm on my way back to Aberdeen, with a supervision on Tuesday. I have not actually done the "short fast madrigal" my supervisor suggested I write. I have also not yet composed something to put on Patreon this month, and there isn't much of the month left to do it in, though I have an idea of what I'll do.

Extant commissions:
St Andrew's Cathedral
Wordless Lullabye

Forthcoming competitions:
Busan (probably can't be arsed) 31/5
Vox 04/06 (could use Sara Teasdale one for this, I think, if I can't write something in time, which I probably can't.)
Melodia (application, I don't have to write something unless commissioned) 15/6
Wilmslow (if I can get near an organ to try some things out? Not desperately fussed about this one to be honest) 31/7
Hendrix 01/8 (finding a text is going to be the hard bit)
Claremont 01/9
Laudem 15/9 (They've specified a text but their instructions aren't clear; I need to ask about it)
Polyphonos (application I think?) 15/9

Calls for Scores:
Pacific Edge 01/8
Juice Vocal Ensemble 16/10

short fast madrigal
there is a spirit
start thinking about Mass setting stuff
finish 'O Nata Lux'

Stuff on the general composing to-do list/back-burner:
Pigeons (I didn't get the Boston commission)
Gemma's poetry
Turn under plow
When on life's path (Adrian)
I always tried to write about the light
Dear Sir (maybe for Uncommon Music festival if they have it again)
Docbrush Ubi Caritas
SOMETHING for Choirs Against Racism. It's a matter of finding the right (public domain) text.
Down by the Whitening Birches
Wisdom hymn tune
The Just's Umbrella (subject to permission from author)
Nunc to match the Mag I submitted last night? But I may need to let the Mag sit for a while and do some revision.


Mar. 13th, 2017 06:42 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Reviewing various choral composition competition things, and one of them says:

"The winner will receive a monetary prize of €1000 (one thousand Euro), a diploma and a recording of his opus."

Emphasis mine.

Not going to burn my words on this, because it's directly related to my PhD area and it may well be due to prejudice on the part of the translators rather than the organisers, but this sort of thing does rather get up my nose.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
First supervision since *mumble mumble*


In general:
I feel as if I haven't done much in the last couple of months. Supervisor thinks I've been pretty prolific. This is reassuring in some ways, but also makes me wonder what would happen if I were able to work more consistently.

I now have a second supervisor! I'll probably see him once per term, once he is back from sabbatical. He likes polyphony and is more of a musicologist than Supervisor 1, so will probably be helpful on the analysis front.

On listening, reading and writing:
I do still need to get into the habit of actually listening to music. And I do still need to do more writing, more analysis. But what I'm doing now -- the worklogs, the reading of various columns and blogs -- is a good start. "The Rest is Noise" is a good thing for me to be reading to get into the material, but the other two books will have what I really, really need to know solidly. The abecedarium, whether for arrangements or as an exercise in composing from scratch, is a really good idea, but keep the pieces short, and remember arrangements can't go in the PhD portfolio.

In a viva I will need to be able to answer:
1) How are you making an original contribution to the repertoire?
2) Where do you place yourself/categorise yourself within the music being written [in your tradition/in the Western academic canon]?

For both of these I'll need to do lots of analysis of my own work. It isn't enough to say that I like harmonic instability, changes of metre, word-painting and cross relations; it isn't enough to say that I give the text primacy; I need to look for patterns in this. Where do I use word-painting and where do I not? What drives the changes of metre?

Things I need to do next year:
-present a few pieces to the Composers' Forum
-present to the Research Forum
-eventually, decide what my Big Piece is going to be. (There has to be a Big Piece, I can't just have 235872987 little ones.) I have lots of ideas.

On various pieces:
cut for length )

This leaves my to-do list looking something like:
This week:
-Ash Weds service this evening, probably a chat about commission text
-Sweeney Todd rehearsal sit-in if I am up to it (I really ought to)
-Pack to go back to London
-Train back to London
-Finish O nata lux by Friday and send it to Juice
-Sort out underlay, midi robots for Art House, put online properly
-postcards for patrons
-business cards (really would be good to have some before Friday, but that seems unlikely)
-start thinking about texts for competitons MASNAU, MALTA and ORTUS
-post-trip laundry and decompression
-ULCC rehearsal
-Hymnathon at St Michael's

Next week:
-ULCC at Southwark Cathedral
-Polyphony Down the Pub
-fix Winter Stars and send that entry off
-start writing MANAU, MALTA or ORTUS; or, preferably, all three
-fix Reminiscences (this is the first one to fix because if it's going to be a test piece *this year* people need copies soon).
-fix Round me Falls the Night so I can order a recording and put it in the "waiting to publish" box
-start a list of names for the abecedarium

Plus, you know, all the routine bits, and the non-composing stuff. Oof.

Must dash.


Feb. 27th, 2017 09:38 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Managed some composing today. I decided to try writing in Latin and see if that distracted the anxiety quirrels enough to let me get on with things, and it did. Good! Not really enough, though.

I was going to go to the Composers' Forum and learn about writing for bassoon. I arrived late enough that going in would have been disruptive for others and embarrassing for me. I went to the loo, and came back.

09.00-14.30: PGR Induction, continued. This includes a session on "Tools for Resilience" but does not appear to include a session in which we get to eat lunch, which is making me wonder whether they have entirely thought this through. (14.30-17.00 is online ethics stuff but I am going to do that another time.)

15.00: Supervision

19:00-21:00: Pancakes and Silent Auction at the cathedral

Also: Date Night, and my father's birthday.

So, while I've been trying to get my sleep habits a bit more sorted out, I think tonight may be rather a late one.

Stuff I would like to finish before the supervision:
-Juice piece (half a draft done)
-Uncommon Music piece (one full draft done but it needs a piano part, so, this is difficult
-brief notes on what I've actually been doing since last supervision in *mumble mumble* -- this isn't so hard, but I do need to write it down.

I might be able to get away with the "what I've been up to" notes being something that I jot down during the induction stuff, but the actual composing needs to be on the computer before then. Whee!

And then, of course, it's the end of the month and I'll need to put something on Patreon if I'm going to get paid. So, tomorrow might be a late night too.



Feb. 25th, 2017 09:23 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Had a bit of a slow start; I have lurgy. But I did go to the MacRobert building, and got some actual composing done, and got some more done after I got bck. I now have a first draft of the piece for the Uncommon Music competition, subject to permission to use the text. The due date for that is Wednesday, so I'm cutting it a bit fine.

I have, however, entirely gone off the idea of using The New Colossus for the Juice vocal ensemble piece, due Tuesday. I think I've figured out why I'm having such trouble with this one; it's because I did submit Talvilaulu to their Call for Scores this year, and it wasn't chosen, and I had no feedback. So of course the brain squirrels are trying to figure out why it wasn't chosen, and one option is that the text is, frankly, depressing as all get-out, making it harder to program. That's the "safest" option: all other options have to do with my handling of the text. "No, that's fine," cry the squirrels, "it was definitely the text. We shall find a perfect text for you! Perfect! It has to be perfect!" They are very devoted. They want to keep me safe from rejection, at all costs.

Unfortunately, the squirrels can't read, so they are deciding all texts are imperfect and therefore unsuitable.

This is suboptimal.

I suspect the best way to work around it is going to be to find a humourous text.


Feb. 15th, 2017 02:59 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Kirkoskammer competition is only open to people born after 1982, which is NOT ME.


Well, I guess at least I finished a piece... really just need to tidy up the score now.


Feb. 9th, 2017 11:16 am
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
(from yesterday)

Went to John Lewis in Stratford, got myself a pot of peppermint tea, and sat and did some composing. Draft 2 of 'Winter Stars' by Sara Teasdale is done; the next step will be putting it into the computer. My concentration wasn't great for some of the day so I am expecting to do some re-writing in the computer drafts.

I do like John Lewis as a place to work. There is plenty of space, meaning I can find somewhere to sit even when it's very crowded, though I prefer the booth seats as the chairs mostly have seats that tilt backward: not comfortable or ergonomic for working. Much of the area is carpeted and there seems to be some thought given to noise reduction; and there's no background music, of course. There is free wifi, though I tend not to use it for my work. I can't remember if you have to sign up for anything to get it, I don't recall giving them my e-mail address at any point but this may have changed.

The tea and coffee now all comes from self-serve machines and there is some self-service for cakes etc too, which I think they've done to try to speed things up at busy times; it could be difficult if you're trying to juggle a pram or wheelchair and a tray as the coffee island doesn't have a tray ledge, but there are also full-service hot drink stations. There are also sandwiches and salads and things, and hot food, too, both the kind that you take with you to your seat and the kind they bring to you with a number (mmmm, pizza), but that's not what I was after yesterday as I'd eaten lunch already.

The toilets are just the ones in the main John Lewis shop. They're on the same floor, and as it's the top floor they tend to be not visited very often, quiet, and clean -- but if you're on your own (as I tend to be when working), it can be a bit of a pain to pack up all your stuff, go pee, and then come back -- and possibly find your table has been cleared of the tea you hadn't finished. I would leave a note, just to be sure. Or, you know, go before you go.
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
So on Twitter @RevJarelRB said someone shoudl perform a Requiem for all those refugee souls lost at sea and I am thinking that writing one might be an idea.

I would want to raise money for e.g. MSF or some similar organisation -- or even better, one run by refugees? I'm not sure. I sortof know someone who works at MSF and might be willing to talk to me though so it's as good a place to start as any.

I don't want to be appropriative and I don't want this to be about my voice, necessarily. I would hope to interview some actual refugees, and with their permission, use their words/experiences -- about the persecution they are fleeing and also about the journey itself.

I'm thinking of the standard text of the Requiem Mass, in Latin, interspersed with words of refugees in English and other languages.



Jan. 7th, 2016 04:16 pm
artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
Time: Friday afternoon, 2017-01-06
Location: Southwark cathedral refectory
Tea: Chamomile
Activity: Fixing the end of 'O sweet and blessed country'

In my haste to get to Mass on time beforehand, I failed to bring a pencil with a rubber o it with me, so there was some crossing out to do. I needed to re-write the end of the piece as it was pretty crap before: I'd written most of it previously, then the ending on what must have been a bad day. I'm not entirely convinced it's much better now, but at least it's different, and better in keeping with the style of the rest of the piece; I'll have to sleep on it, and see whether I like it. I'd like to submit this piece for a workshop I only found out about this afternoon; the deadline is 2016-01-09 (er, Monday) at 5pm PST (ah, the timezones help me out here). The piece itself is a setting of my preferred version of the last verse of the hymn "Jerusalem the golden": the one that has "Exult, O dust and ashes, the Lord shall be your part; his always, his forever, thou shalt be and thou art!" in it. The actual original text is many verses longer than what appears in most hymnals and so different versions crop up all the time; I know that S, who I'm considering dedicating this piece to, also prefers the version I prefer, and dislikes the version in the Beastly Orange Hymnal.

No background music in the cathedral refectory, but during busy ties it can still be on the noisey side. The busy times don't tend to last very long though. The windows give plenty of natural daylight earlier in the day, but afternoons can be rather dim. There is some hot food at lunchtime, and tea/cake/etc available the rest of the time. The loo is down a narrow flight of stairs, there is an accessible toilet elsewhere in the building, near the gift shop. It's quite handy for London Bridge station.

After that I went to a stationer, then wrote most of a "review of the year" post, but I am not up to typing it tonight; I'm barely managing to type up this worklog and it's only short (I'm backdating it). I do have a tablet and a bluetooth keyboard, and it might be worth bringing them along on these café excursions for worklog and blogging purposes, though they'd be more than I really wanted to carry. We'll see.


artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)

September 2017



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