Advent Calendar: 12

Today has been hijacked by the weather. It’s been unbelievably cold at home. Even with three layers and the heating on, I’ve been freezing all day and consequently found myself entirely unable to settle at the computer to get any composing done. Instead I faffed about, tidied my desk and the studio in general a bit, did some laundry. Eventually I caved in favour of hot soup and decided to have a go at making naan bread in the frying pan… which was when I discovered that in actual fact the heaters weren’t on because we’d run out of gas so no heating and no hot water. Cue much more faffing about and the need to go outside multiple times in order to top up the gas supply (fortunately we now have a thingy which means we can top up online so don’t need to go to the shop on top of everything else!).

So finally, I’d managed to at least take the chill off the air, started working on the string quartet (which I made some big progress on last night after I’d posted)… Then Djeli called and I realised I should be leaving the house for D’s graduation gig in Camden. Eep!

I did some more reading on the train for my Personal Project – feeling a need to prioritise this this week because the college library is closed from the end of next week until after New Year, and the Tate Library is also closed between Christmas and New Year, so I feel I need to get a large chunk of research and decision-making done by the end of next week. Now that I feel I’ve nearly settled on using Cy Twombly’s Natural History mushroom pieces (they’re lithographs/collages rather than paintings) I’m looking at doing some research specifically into Twombly and these works, plus I’m also reading about Morton Feldman and his connection with the abstract expressionists – even though his work seems to relate more to colour-field painters’ work, such as Rothko, I feel there could well be something of use in there.

I’m pleased with how the string quartet is progressing though – I think moving that section on to be the second section works much better, and the harmony is expanding somewhat into the gap. My challenge at the moment is to balance duration with harmonic change with making sure neither the players nor the audience are bored, picking up threads of the future material while maintaining a certain level of textural weightiness… challenging but fun!

Oh, and I also squeezed in some listening! Rautavaara’s Manhatten Trilogy & Symphony No. 3. The more I listen to Rautavaara, the more I absolutely adore his music. Lush but not heavy. Nothing Germanic about it. Really some glorious ideas in there. Mmmmmmm

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