November 18, 2020

Tuesday, November 17. The morning was set aside for the Vocational Practice surgery. It’s helpful to have pauses in the curriculum to discuss issues that students may be encountering in relation to the module, the MA scheme, and life in general. After lunch, I headed up the hill to P4, Penbryn to teach my full-time MA tutees. Men with theodolites strewn my path. I suspect the road-widening project is now in the planning stage.

Then, it was back down to the School for a face-to-face PhD fine art tutorial, followed by an MA pre-exam board consultation. The evening was taken-up with postgraduate admin and teaching prep.

Wednesday, November 18. This would be a mixed-bag sort of day. 8.30 am: I’d received my copy of The Shining Pyramid limited-edition cassette tape album, to which I contributed. I bought my last cassette over thirty years ago. A red-letter day, therefore:

On with emailery, inquiries, and a side-ways glance at a mini-pedalboard on the bench that’s trying to find its identity. 10.00 am: I reviewed the track listing for the new CD. Potentially, there are two more compositions to conceive — depending on how much of the 80-minutes that a CD can accommodate, I’d already expended. Therefore, it was time to measure the times of the existing compositions. My estimation is that, once all the compositions are complete, I’ll have about 76-minutes of material. In the 1970s, that would be the length of a vinyl double-album. An end is in sight. My mind was already gravitating to ‘the shape of things to come’

11.00 am: I reviewed the text to the final major work: ‘John Williams’:

They heard the voice of one singing psalms coming to meet them. They knew the voice to be the voice of John Williams. When the voice came near, it slackened and grew weaker (when came within twenty yard’s distance); when just over them, the passing voice ceased, yet was soon renewed; and when about twenty yards distant, the voice was as strong as before. They heard some of the words, which were from Psalm 105. They did not hear all of the words, but the beginning and ends of the stanzas, which they heard with much surprise.

I’d be working with Edmwnd Prys’s (1544–1623) 1621 translation of the psalm:

As in the case of the other compositions, the reading of the text would provide the basis of the sound, for the greater part. The syllabic count for each stanza is 9, 7, 9, 7. But only the first and last lines of each were audible. A sense of fading in and out repeatedly. The denoted musicality remained problematic. I didn’t wish to use a period Welsh tune. Too literal. Ruminations.

12.00 pm: I continued with postgraduate admin. 1.30 pm: I took half-an-hour out to ponder pedals, impedance, and counter-intuitive orders:

2.00 pm: I played with samples, freestyle, without ambition or direction. Whatever arose may or may not find a place in the compositions that remain. Perhaps, on this occasion, the text needed to be sung rather than read. I listened to various example of Welsh folk tunes from the 17th century, took phrases and reversed them to construct a new tune that might be serviceable to my ends.

4.30 pm: Outdoor pursuits:

7.30 pm: I’d made time to process photographs and profiles for eBay sales of redundant equipment. Business has been brisk of late. The takings will be ploughed back into the land.

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