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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:

Winter Stars (Sara Teasdale) (competition! due 13th March)
-Pretty good, the ending isn't quite right yet though; could be drawn out more, staggered entries in bars 34-35 and making that section slightly longer would help.
-Still full of typos
-needs dynamics added (doh)

Art House:
-Fine. Which is just as well, as I put it on Patreon last night. (Proper blog on this forthcoming later this week).

Round Me Falls the Night:
-the SATB version is better than the TTBB version, in general
-bb 27-30, put melody up octave in Sop rather than where it is in Alto in order to avoid jarring at bar 31
-typos bar 63
-ending is much better than last draft, yay

O Sweet and Blessed Country
-ending is much better than last draft, yay
-supervisor doesn't think comments re: beaming and timing are particularly relevant, especially as the timing *is* shown by the beams in the reduction. But putting a quaver=quaver instruction in there is probably a good idea.
-supervisor also agrees with me that "It's too short to program" is not something to worry about. Essentially, it's a piece that will work well as an Introit. We want those to be short, usually.
-Supervisor thinks I should send this to cathedral.

Choral commission from the cathedral -- supervisor thinks this is a great idea, which is good, because I have already arranged for it to happen.

Reminiscences (solo horn)
-Will make a good test piece, but it isn't done yet.
-gosh there are some corny bits
-needs a more fanfare-y section than it has, and some high range stuff
-work in a handhorn section? Supervisor thinks at end, but I'd have to re-write the main theme in another key entirely. I'm thinking of having it in a section in the middle, instead. Will have to think about this.

O nata lux -- finish by end of week.
-On the whole, good.
-ending not quite settled; try spinning out bars 23-24

Pattern: supervisor thinks I'm not spinning out my endings enough. Since I'm also often unhappy with the endings, this is entirely plausible. But I think the unsettledness is not because they are too short but because I'm reverting to too thin/simple a texture too early, sometimes. Hmm.

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.


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