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20 Feb  
  by  Ian Wilson


Hildegard of Bingen

I’m becoming more and more painfully aware that I promised David quasi-regular blog postings for CT, but I now feel a little as if I have writer’s block – I feel like I should have something to say about something, but any ideas I have had recently seem to be a little self-serving or just plain dull. This is not, thankfully, an affliction (the writer’s block) that carries over to my composing, where the time available for writing still seems a little shy of the time I actually need and consequently I’m always ready and able to compose when those hours do free up. This, despite the fact that I am ostensibly a full-time composer. Where do the hours go? I do one day’s teaching a week as part of my post-Doctoral Research post requirements, but that should surely leave 4, 5 or even 6 days for writing depending on the level of workaholicicism I wish to engage with. And yet there always seems to be some rehearsal to attend, some promotion to be seen to, perhaps a little interview here or guest lecture there and there are always emails to write and reply to. Perhaps I need a secretary – or can one still get an amanuensis these days? And what about tea breaks? Perhaps if I had less of those I might write more, but then again the Reward system works very well for me.

Actually, I’ve got the first production of a new music theatre work coming up at the start of next month in Dublin – Una Santa Oscura is a bit like an opera but with no singers or text and instead a violinist is the sole protagonist (see, a self-serving blog entry). The interesting thing about this project for me, compared to my experience with writing chamber opera where one knows it’s out of one’s hands once the music is done, is that I formed the complete concept for the work myself – a staged work for a violinist inspired by aspects of the life of Hildegard of Bingen. Still, here I am willingly handing it all over to the director and finding myself very curious about what he’s done with the idea (because I haven’t had time to attend any rehearsals yet); after all, the concept might have been mine but he’s got the work of filling in the details. So, there go a number of days in the next couple of weeks with rehearsals and performances and little enough time for writing music let alone blogs.

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 David Bruce commenting on Workaholicicism:
20 February 2010 at 19:37

Ian! I don't want you or anyone else to feel guilty for not posting! But perhaps you underestimate how insteresting 'self-serving' blog entries can be! I for one certainly find it fascinating to read what other composers are up to. But also I must say that I hope you appreciate how lucky you are both to have so much composing work lined up, and also to be able to spend so much time exclusively on it!

I am interested in the idea of having a violinist as the protagonist of your theatre piece. It reminds me, although I've never seen it live, that Birtwistle's wonderful opera 'The 2nd Mrs Kong' includes the character of Paganini who never speaks, but just plays fiendish cadenzas on the violin. Although in that case, as it was set in the underworld, he was actually dead!

 Ian Wilson commenting on Workaholicicism:
20 February 2010 at 19:54

Not at all, David, I agree it's interesting to see what other composers are thinking/up to - the times seems to have flown by since the first blog!. I also agree I'm very lucky to still be composing full-time, despite the economic strictures.
I'll let you know how the violinist-as-protagonist works!

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