Pollard & Kenny CD preparations

Beginning to get things ready for the recording of our CD. Matt has been tying musicians down to rehearsal dates, which is a tricky and difficult job. I meanwhile have been reviewing the words of This Concert Will Fall in Love With You and making a few minor tweaks.

The CD will have four pieces on it “This concert…” which has a theme and 12 variations. And three choral pieces: Found, written originally for the Rainbow Chorus, which they are recording for their own CD. Our version will have different instrumentation. Then there isClameur, a setting of my poem from A Guernsey Double which Matt has turned into a fascinating two-movement piece starting with angularity and vocal representations of being on the tube train, which later resolves into gorgeousness.

The final piece started life as a choral exercise, Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. This translates as And on earth peace, good will toward men which Matt told me is something of a standard text for choral pieces.

I am beginning to love the music which has a brooding, ambiguous quality. Listening to the soundfile gave me a strong vision of leaves for some reason. And lately I have become keen on listening to the sound of wind through trees. I have rewritten the piece, and have called it Adam, and sent it to Matt to see what the maestro makes of it. This is our first piece where the music came first, so it will be interesting to see if I can demonstrate as much sensitivity as Matt has.

We’re also thinking about a name for the CD too. This concert will fall in love with you, is rather long, This CD will fall in love with you too crassly commercial perhaps. I like Clameur, but I am still unsure.

Rehearsals start next month. I can’t wait.

Success

Of course the trick to having a successful year is to decide what success looks like on your terms.

For me to be successful this year I have sought a happy medium between business and other creative projects. It’s simple: if I neglect one, I don’t eat, if I neglect the other my head explodes.

Happily I have eaten and my head is still intact. So here’s what a successful year looks like to one Brighton-based writer.

  • I have earned enough money through my work with agencies to finance my craving for time. This year agencies have tended to invite me to work on pitches or as cover for absent creative directors. A few months ago I was offered a creative directorship but turned it down. I was flattered but not tempted.
  • The publication of A Guernsey Double, written with Richard Fleming, was supported by the Guernsey Arts Commission. For a writer, the buzz of seeing your name on a book’s spine is hard to underestimate. And it has directly led to several radio appearances, and readings with Richard booked for next year’s Guernsey’s first Literary Festival. Also it compelled me to spend time in Guernsey, the place I love most in the world
  • My collaborations with the composer Matthew Pollard have given me the opportunity to work in a completely different field. Our first work together, called This concert will fall in love with you is due to be recorded next year after its premier in the Brighton Festival Fringe this May. More performances are also planned for next year. Our second work together a short piece called Found written for Brighton’s Rainbow Chorus, and given its premiere in the World Aids Day concert on December 1st. Matthew and I are now working on an Operatic piece around a doppelganger theme which will be performed next year. Learning these new skills is rejuvenating and fascinating. While working with classical musicians has been an extraordinary experience, and the prospect of becoming a recording artist at 51 is extremely cheering.
  • I have put in the hard yards on my children’s novel Skelton Yawngrave. I had the opportunity to workshop it in two Brighton schools, Downs Junior and Stanford Junior, has proved a fascinating experience, leading me to drastically revise the story. The experience of talking to children about literature and the process of creating characters has led directly to me also being booked to lead some children’s sessions at the Guernsey Literary Festival.
  • My short play Wrong will probably be given another short airing in Brighton this February. I am particularly looking forward to this as it involves working with young actors.

So there you have it. Although this may seem self congratulatory, there are plenty of things that can be done better, a theme I shall return to.