100 Days – Day 100

Well well well!

Well well well well well!


100 days are up. I haven’t finished my PhD yet, or even Amra Choluim Chille, but it’s been an interesting experience documenting it all, and the end is definitely in sight. ACC1 still needs a bit of polishing off, but I’ll definitely be well able to finish my first draft this weekend and in Berlin, to a fairly high level of ‘finished’.

At the moment, it comes to 50 minutes, and about 200 pages of music for Choir, Strings, Harp and Percussion. There were times when it felt like an insurmountable task, and times when it felt like I’d finish it in days. Times when what felt like extremely busy and productive days resulted – on closer examination – in fruitless labour that had to be discarded. I’ve learned a lot about composition, and about my process, and about time management – in fact, how to manage lost time. In addition to my PhD, I’ve managed to complete a Christmas Carol, start 3 more Christmas Carols, complete a little prayer for Notre Dame that was downloaded over 4,000 times around the world. There have been times (and are still times) when I feel on the verge of tears, simply because I can’t quite believe that it’s all coming to a close. When I look back at where I was when I decided to start this thing 3 years ago, I can’t understand where all that time has gone. It feels like it’s been only a few short months, and yet I have so much work to show for it – next big thing is to submit it all to the CMC, which I’ve been shockingly lax in doing, only because I’ve been loathe to submit anything to them that might be considered un-finished or in development.

I’ll be taking Sunday evening, Monday and Tuesday off composition entirely, for Dominica’s birthday, and to travel to Berlin, so Saturday’s set aside as my day to try to get as much of this final movement to a place you’d call finished. All the ideas are there, I just need to refine them, re-order some of them, and stick some of them together in a better way. Easy work on one hand, boring work on the other. But I might risk buying my ritual half bottle of Marks and Spencer Pink Champagne that I’ve been having at significant points in the work since the beginning of July. One bottle marked the completion of ACC2, which was the first movement I completed since I completed ACC4 at the beginning of last year. Another marked the completion of 5, 6 and 7 over the course of 3 short but hectic days. The completion of 1 is taking longer than I thought it would, but the music I’ve written is also significantly better than I ever thought it would be.

To those of you who’ve followed me on this journey, thank you for reading. There’ll be more of this kind of thing in the very near future, with 100 Days Redux – Berlin Nights 1-6* next week but after that I’d imagine the blog will go quite for a short while.


The climax of  ACC1 , which took longer than I thought it would, but is better than I thought it could be.

The climax of ACC1, which took longer than I thought it would, but is better than I thought it could be.