Expected bad weather still holding off, but my hands got very cold heaving bricks and moving turfs. I am taking up a grass path, but keeping the turfs to build a bank in the poor dry soil next to the drive.
No writing today either. Reading the 1853 A Year In Music in bed this morning, I was comforted once more by how little time the great composers of that period actually spent composing. They made a lot of music and they talked to each other about music and they travelled, but composing time was rare. I imagine that it didn’t earn them a living, any more than writing does today. Composing must be the most frustrating of the arts. It is all imagination – unless, say, you are a pianist composing for the piano. For orchestral work, or worse still opera, without the instrumentalists and the singers and the venue and the rehearsing time, you will never hear your own work, you cannot even show it to others except as a score.
It occurs to me that this is no longer true. Presumably there is now software that will allow you to compose and hear some version of your work… Hmm, I’ve always wanted to have a go. Now I recall the girls had a very simple music program on the old Atari. However in 1853 you had a page of music and, if you were lucky , a piano.
It is possible to compose a symphony using good software such as Sibelius 7, which comes complete with a library of instrument sounds. It can also be used with other libraries such as the Garritan Personal Orchestra. You can create the number of staves you want and write the parts directly into them. You can play back what you have written.
What you can’t do is compose vocal music to a text and then play it back.
Tempting! I’d better complete one or two other projects before straying down this promising alley, and my opera will have to wait a while. Thanks.