New year, new leaf? Trying …

Yet again this year I posted a rather ambitious list of creative goals for the new year. I’ve stopped doing “resolutions” – they always fail – so instead I prefer to focus on small-scale victories and try to gently guide myself to achieve them. So today I did a little guiding. Two of the big ones, which will be ongoing and probably affect a fair chunk of other stuff are helping Djelibeybi to sort out the study and to listen to one new or revisited work or album a month. These are the two I’ve started tackling today. I’m really happy with the start I’ve made too – the study thing does to a certain measure also include the bedroom – over the weekend we moved my white cabinet/bookshelf into the study to be a support for the printer, which gives a hole in the room’s furniture and a pile of books on the floor that formerly lived on top of the cabinet. So today I cleared off the top of the chest of drawers, got everything off the desk, cleaned them both, took my lamp out of the box it’s been languishing in since we moved in May, shredded some stuff, recycled a huge load of paper, sorted out what needed to be filed or scanned or otherwise processed in some way, fetched my desk chair out of the cupboard where it was stashed after the Christmas invasion and basically made everything nice and ready to be worked at. It’s still not 100% ready, but it’s a great deal closer to it than it has been for months. Still a lot of junk to be dealt with but now that it’s off the desk I’m hoping it can stay off.

For the listening I’ve been sampling a few random things the past couple of days in my listening for the new pieces I’m working on. Today was Ute Lemper – City of Strangers (which I didn’t even know I had) and the Michael Nyman Songbook, then (accidentally) moving on to Michael Torke’s Yellow Pages album from ever so long ago. And now I’m listening to a composer called Philipp Blume whose site I was directed to from a tweet by Lauren Redhead – not the sort of thing I normally gravitate to but I’m really rather enjoying it. I should start keeping that listening diary I said I would but I don’t really want to start a new book and not entirely sure how else to do it. Hmm. Also feel a bit of a prat writing sort-of reviews – I shouldn’t, really, because the aim of the exercise is to get more comfortable with really thinking about music and being able to talk about – and to listen more closely – but nevertheless, there it is. Will work on that.

I also made a chunky start on reworking Deconstruct: Point, line plane for chamber orchestra for the London Contemporary Chamber Orchestra’s call for scores which is due at the end of the month. Reasonably happy with the translations of the woodwind parts, but the piano bit isn’t working at all and I found myself getting in a muddle in Finale because of only being able to see half the staves at any given time, so instead I went out and got some proper orchestral-sized manuscript – going to have a go at doing this the old-fashioned way, then I’ll transcribe it into Finale. I think this should work well – while I don’t usually work with paper and pencil when I’m actually composing because I’m rubbish at working out what’s in my head if I can’t hear it as I write it down, it actually works well for me when I’m doing orchestration because I AM good at hearing tone colours in my head and imagining combinations of them. Seeing as the notes are done (although I may expand some bits later) this should be fine – looking forward to really getting started on this tomorrow.

And I made some biscuits. Nice to have a little something with one’s cup of tea.

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