October 25, 2019

7.45 am: Breakfast:

8.30: A communion. 9.00 am: An overview of the day, a second cup of tea, and an opening of files. Back to the composition descriptors. (This feels endless.) ‘Persevere, John!’ I’m attempting to maintain a balance between formal description and rationalisation. Too much of the latter, and I risk giving the appearance that everything is program music. How much does the audience need to know? And, for that matter, how much do I know about the work? I’ve learned something new about it on every subsequent audition. Having made work, the work now makes me.

‘That One Day’, which adapts a small section of Martin Luther King Jr delivered his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech, was always going to be a challenge to explain. The structure of the composition isn’t complicated, but how it fits together is hard to articulate simply and unambiguously.

1.00 pm: Following an early and a speedy lunch, I headed into rain and the rising wind for a long-overdue haircut:

‘Jesus Christ … God!’, one hairdresser shouted. Well, I couldn’t fault the theology.

2.10 pm: Back at home, more tea, and down to work again. My head felt lighter; maybe, now, my brain would work faster. By 3.45 pm, I’d nailed the text … for now. Once all the descriptors had been concluded, I’d work them together in order to ensure consistency of content and convention. For now, I have to keep going, composition-by-composition. On with ‘The Lesser Light’. I ransacked my Diary to collect together information about the work’s initial conception and the process of development. The Diary was, in part, intended to be a day-by-day account of research development. Bench notes, in a manner of speaking; a resource upon which to draw, later.

7.30 pm: I broke my general regulation, and spent the day’s third session on the same project as had preoccupied me during the morning and afternoon.

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