Lockdown music

My lockdown garden

There must be so many blogs like this – lockdown somehow makes us more thoughtful and focussed on what seems ‘important’ to us – but I felt that I would like to say something about what it has meant for me so far.

In the UK we are now into the eighth week of lockdown, though had it started a week or two sooner we might be in a better place than we are. The rules haven’t been as strict as in some countries, and a little bit of relaxation was brought in a few days ago, but for those who can work from home, or are retired, things have changed little.  However, had this pandemic happened even twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have had the opportunities that we now have to conduct much of our social and business life on line, and to actually communicate with friends and family perhaps more than we would have done in normal times.

But how has all this affected me musically?  Initially, of course, with despair. Writing music for choirs to sing is one of my main activities, and they won’t be doing that any time soon! But once one has got over that realisation, one starts to realise that the love of singing won’t go away, it just have to be done in relative privacy at the moment – and of course many great choirs are making recordings on line, mixed by technological wizards, and put out there for us to see.  And it must be a choral directors delight to simply turn down the volume a little on a particular soprano track when it becomes a little too prominent, or to gently mute that out-of-tune tenor note! So I’ve started to get to grips with the technology, produced a couple of short virtual choral performances with family members, and am about to try recording a new choral piece with friends and family scattered around the country. I’ll post the results soon, I hope.

In the meanwhile, here are a couple of lock-down performances of my music:

Now the green blade rises

Mind the Gap! – a lively recording from the Bromley Youth Music Trust Junior Singers

I’ve also been focussing on presenting existing recordings of my music in a format that I hope will appeal to choral singers – as a Youtube sound-track with scrolling music.  Here are links to two of them:

God in mine eternity

Images of Peace

I’ve also been, by using a nifty piece of software called NotePerformer, produced digital versions of some of my instrumental pieces. Here are some links:

London Landscapes (wind orchestra)

Cyprian Dances (string orchestra)

Hark to the Bells (full orchestra)

Palace Dances (woodwind orchestra)

I do have new composing projects in progress – an orchestral piece, a new choral piece, and educational music – but just at the moment it feels like the time to look at my back catalogue and evaluate where I’ve got to. And I suspect that for many of us, lock-down has provided that opportunity to look back and consolidate.

My very best wishes to all who read this.  Keep safe.

2 thoughts on “Lockdown music”

  1. Thank you for this blog Alan. The NotePerformer software certainly gives an acceptable rendering of the orchestral works, reminding me of theatre organ transcriptions of years gone by. Might home organ/keyboard transcriptions be a possibility to aid the composer’s coffers in these strange days?

    1. Thank you, Michael. Yes indeed, transcriptions for home use could be welcome!

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