Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Endings and beginnings...

So, the premiere of "The complete consort dancing together" took place last night, and very fine it was too. I'd been nervous for the past few weeks about it, especially as we didn't get as much rehearsal as I would have liked, but in the end the orchestra rose to the occasion, and as far as I could tell from the middle of it all it sounded very exciting, and also very solid and confident.

I had lots of compliments paid to me afterwards, someone said it was the best piece in the concert, which was clearly untrue but a lovely thing to say all the same.

There's a review of the concert here, although they barely mention me... pah! Still, good to see KSO continuing to draw good notices.

So now I'm at that slightly empty stage where that piece is over and done with, and I must now try and motivate myself to begin work in earnest on the next one...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Remember, remember...

I went to a fireworks display on Friday, the first time I've been to a bonfire night do for a very long time. The fireworks were fun (although you're not allowed anywhere near the actual fire these days) but what was
funny was the portentious commentary telling the story of the Battle of Trafalgar accompanying them.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Endings and Beginnings

Well, after a hectic few weeks getting it all together, my new orchestral piece is finished, the parts are made up and the rehearsals have begun, and so far it's all sounding quite promising, so here's hoping the performance on 22 November is a success.

I've spent the past few days doing a bit of housekeeping, producing typeset copies of some old pieces, which I'll be sending to the British Music Information Centre for their collection, as well as updating my biography and all that kind of stuff, a process I find highly tedious and embarrassing to do, but these things are expected, I suppose.

So now I'm trying to get back into sketching mode as I try to get going again on the large scale piano piece I was working on before I had to put it aside to write the orchestral piece.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's been a long time...

since I rock 'n' rolled. Well, a couple of weeks or so, anyway. I've not been idle, just concentrating on the orchestral piece I'm writing at the moment, so that's taken up most of my time since I got back from holiday. There are a few things from the past month I've got, which I'll get around to putting up when i've got time. In the meantime, here's a litle tune.

Went to see "Maskarade" at the Royal Opera House last night, don't believe the critics, it's a wonderful work, and an excellent production too. I have one small gripe about a throwaway line inserted in the final scene that I think detracts from the import of the scene, but otherwise it's very well done.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Just about to head up north to Birmingham, and from there to the Moniaive Comics festival. Really looking forward to a few days away.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I kept playing with the little tune from the 20th, and ended up with a set of mini-variations. Although these diary pieces aren't intended for any particular instrument, I found the basic sound I had in my mind for these evolved from my usual default sound of piano, to cello (my own instrument). I guess the variation theme ties in with the comic strips I'm working on at the moment, as they tend to be variations on one basic gag.

It's such a relief to be off work at last, even though I spent the first couple of days laid up with a horrible bug. The extraordinary tension of the Ashes didn't help me relax either! But now I'm just feeling at last like I can rest and maybe stop just feeling exhausted.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The value of failure

Well, to be honest these are fairly purfunctory and not too inspired, but part of the point of this is to rid oneself of the fear of writing bad music. If it turns out bad, it can be ignored. If you worry too much about whether what you produce is any good, you'll end up producing nothing. Good writing starts with just writing.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

A break from the muties

time's very short at the moment as I try to start getting all the tasks done which have been looming over me for a while now. So just a very quick sketch yesterday, I daresay I'll go back to the line I've been drawing for the past week or so - or maybe not. That's the point of this really, there's no agenda or plan, just whatever pops into my head.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Mutante encore

The accidentals just seemed to creep in.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

A nice lazy weekend to celebrate my entry into middle age. Just did these couple of things, the first another mutation of the last few entries, the other the half remembered outline of an idea that popped into myn head on the way to the pub before the football on Saturday. It was a very good idea, of course I didn't have anything to write it down on at the time. So this is an impression of a lost moment, really.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A line further

It continues to mutate... what will happen next?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Taking a line for a (shaky) walk

I seem to have hit on a pattern here. I may continue this train of thought for a few days, it's a bit like automatic writing in a way. I like the idea of abandoning clear rhythm or co-ordination of the lines, it seems to open up a fresh landscape.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sometimes being helpful can be a real pain. Memo to self - learn to say no more.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sunday night ramble

Very tired today, entertained a visiting brother this weekend. This morning we watched with gritted teeth as England nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the second test. The relief when we finally took the last wicket and won by the slimmest of margins (two runs!) was extraordinary. And people say cricket's a dull sport.
At the time of writing, haven't yet done today's piece, I'm struggling to stay awake at the moment, but I should try and get something down before I collapse, especially as I missed out on Wednesday. So many things to do, so little time or energy...

Monday, August 01, 2005

To speed or not to speed

I keep an A5 sketchbook with me pretty much all of the time, and that's where I generally put these diary pieces, along with sketches for larger ideas. Up til now I've written out the entries nice and neat to post here, as the handwriting in the book can get pretty scratchy, (depending what kind of state I'm in at the time...) but today I thought I'd scan the latest efforts straight from the book, see how it comes out.

So far most of these things seem to come out as slow pieces, although I've tried not to indicate speeds etc too much, to leave plenty of leeway. Today's piece is unusual - the way I've notated it suggests a slow tempo maybe, but I actually imagined it reasonably fast as I was writing it. There's no reason it should go one way rather than the other, though.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

New Puritan

Another difficult week, all kinds of financial pressures pressing down on all my other commitments, hence another big cache of pieces to post. I missed out on Friday, as I got waylaid in the evening, but hey, a boy has to have some fun, and I did two yesterday to make up for it. Call it Puritan guilt.

Monday, July 25, 2005


A combination of all kinds of work and computer troubles has left me a bit behind here, I haven't been neglecting my piece-a-day challenge though, so here's a big catch-up for the past week or so...

Friday, July 15, 2005

One Week on...

No words. What words can there be?

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I wrote an email to the Director General of the BBC today asking him if he thought it was perhaps inappropriate that upper management were being awarded enormous bonuses paid from public money while nearly 4000 employees face the sack as the DG says they cost too much and we need to save money. I don't expect a reply, still, better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

Otherwise I continue work on the orchestral piece I'm writing for Kensington Symphony Orchestra (of which more anon) and I'm also starting to scribble down a few ideas for comics for various upcoming publications. Here's a character design I did yesterday (for someone else's script). I shan't say any more than that it's going to be... disturbing.

(image copyright 2005 by me!)

Sunday, July 10, 2005

There's been a lot of stuff in the media about the tremendous will of Londoners to return to normal life as quickly as possible, but what else are we supposed to do? Stay at home for the rest of our lives? If I want to go anywhere, the scale of this city is such that I have to use trains/tubes/buses. Enfield to Shepherd's Bush is not an easily walkable journey. And let's face it, the risk of being blown up on the tube on Friday was probably lower than it's been for years. So it's back to normal; long silences between commuters almost hidden by the screech and clatter of wheels on worn tracks. Londoners united in their determination not to speak to strangers on a train.