Nobody Said It Would Be Easy

This week is turning into one of those WHY???? weeks where nothing goes right. I’m trying not to whinge too much because I’ve given up whingeing for Lent, which is why I’m here rather than doing an aaaargh on Twitter, because nobody reads this blog when there isn’t a specific project on, but I need to try to get some stuff straight in my head.

I feel like I’m kind of in a transitional period, compositionally speaking, which isn’t surprising, given the vast number of new experiences I’ve had in the past few months and the wide array of stuff I’ve been trying. This is a good thing, I know it is, but given that I have this one week to work in, but am sick as a dog thanks to a germ I picked up from the dancers last week at Laban, I feel like I’m losing time to consolidate stuff, and going back to Fear of Falling feels like a backwards step because already, by dint of writing that piece and all the work I’ve done on Still River Air (the Ansel Adams piece) and my CoLab project since I started it, it feels like a piece from another time.

I’ve also been doing quite a lot of listening the past couple of days, going back over some pieces of Australian music I want to play to the postgrads in my listening session on Tuesday, and it feels like something I really want to explore more. I feel more connected to this music than I have ever done before, and listening to it is making me realise how much of my own style is informed by this stuff. I’ve also been reading the interviews in Andy Ford’s Composer to Composer, which I haven’t done in many years, and there are certain resonances that really strike me, that I want to explore further. It seems the more I study at a European institution, the more of an Australian composer I feel I am becoming.

Already I’m doubting my decision to stay here. Maybe a year or two after I’ve finished the degree will be enough, then back to Aus and launch into a doctorate. Right at this moment though, I’m feeling sick and full of germ and lacking in energy and imagination and wondering why I ever thought I could be a composer at all. I’m worried about Still River Air (still don’t like that title) and what problems may arise with it because I had to rush the score and parts production due to the massive tech problems I had to deal with. I’m trying not to worry too much – 1. there may not be any, or nothing major; 2. if there are, I’m sure I won’t be the only one!

Tomorrow the forms are due in for the string quartet competition, which I had intended to write something for, but I just don’t know that I’ll have the time, now I’ve lost four days, effectively, to being poorly. Might put it in anyway, but a bit disturbed that I need to provide a title. Also that there’ll only be a week to write it in, when I should be working on Fear of Falling and my Cy Twombly pieces.

Finances are also becoming a huge issue – turned out that Djeli had miscalculated how much we owe HMRC, and there’s another £3,000 to pay, and still no job on his horizon. D’s part-time job is about to evaporate too, as the store he works at is closing down.

I’ve been listening a lot to Peter Sculthorpe’s string quartets this week. Not sure why I settled on those – I’ve actually never really listened to them before – but I’m finding them really comforting and I’m struck by how right their delicate textures seem. I never realised before how slim a lot of Peter’s work is, something which I aspire to in my own music. I’ve been wondering what it would be like to go back and study with him again maybe. I wonder what I would learn this time round.

Anyway, nobody said any of this would be easy – going back to school as a mature-age student, studying full-time on another contractor’s dubious income – and it sure isn’t! I’m just trying to keep focused on what I have to do and not get distracted by money, illness, feelings of worthlessness that tend to crop up whenever anything’s not going quite right! And now that I’ve quietly vented, I’m going to put my headphones back on and see if I can finish off with the time signature changes in Fear of Falling

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