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Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
1M ago
I made some progress on …our light is here… during the week, which was definitely a positive step, and I feel much better with the piece now that I have taken the two “movements” and swapped their order around. Somewhere in all the fog of the sketches and the doodles and the crossings out there is a structure that will work and make sense, but it is still taking a while to discern exactly what it is. I have been slightly hung up on the question of how to get from one section to another, whether to make it a steady but inexorable change of material or just to stop and start again. There are tim ..read more
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Looking forwards
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
1M ago
Hmm. Another very, very long gap between entries but, yes, I am still here and still writing a little at a time. All of the paraphernalia of the house move has been rumbling on and is still a little overwhelming at times, and the sheer amount of admin and disruption that it has caused has meant that sitting down to anything like regular work has been difficult. This is likely to continue at least until the summer, though the signs are that everything is pointing in the right direction at last and that we are definitely nearer the end of the journey that the start. Still, bumps in the road and ..read more
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Strapped into the rollercoaster
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
2M ago
It has been a long time since I have posted regularly on this blog, but it has also been a long time since I have done any regular composition. Since the middle of last year I have been strapped into the rollercoaster that is The Big House Move, something that began as a notion, became an idea, developed into a plan, and then became a full-on adventure/nightmare, and which has, over the past few months, taken up almost all of my free time and energy, both physical and mental. Without going into too many boring details, this grand plan involves the buying and selling of three houses (don’t ask ..read more
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Flexibility
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
4M ago
So here we are again after a decent pause, and it is probably about time that I caught up with everything that has been going on in the past few weeks or so. The run up to Christmas was frenetic, made all the more hectic by Christmas Eve being a Sunday, but in the end everything worked out well despite the fact that I genuinely felt that I was playing Hark, The Herald on autopilot by the end of it all. Early in the afternoon on Christmas Day I hit the road and headed home, eventually making it back in the early evening after dropping in to see some friends, and then switched off for a bit. On ..read more
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Weekend carols
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
5M ago
This weekend was one of those frenetic ones where everything comes together at once, all the planning and detail work coalescing until it manifests itself in a flurry of activity and is done.  Thankfully all the results were overwhelmingly positive, which is largely a reflection of the efforts of the singers involved, although I do like to think that the amount of preparation that went on behind the scenes, quietly and constantly, also had a little to do with it. On Saturday evening the Occam Singers presented their Christmas concert, and I must admit to having been a touch concerned ..read more
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In the middle of it all
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
5M ago
This has been an incredibly tough week. It is always this way come Advent and Christmas, but there have been more responsibilities this year, more things to check and double check, more moments that could go wrong that need to go right. It has, however, been something of a mini-bonanza for my music, with the first performance of From Far Away by Parliament Choir, alongside Sweet Was The Song and We Three Kings, the last of which received another outing on Tuesday and which will be heard yet again this coming week, to say nothing of dropping onto Radio 4 at some point. The Oxen continues to go ..read more
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Tyres and tarmac
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
6M ago
Well, that was quite the week. I conducted the Parliament Choir concert on Wednesday, which was a performance of the Rachmaninoff All-Night Vigil with the Coventry Cathedral Chorus. There were various other pieces in the programme, as if it were not demanding enough with just the Rachmaninoff, and there had been various other pressures on our rehearsal time from the start, but we came through with flying colours, and I was immensely proud of what the singers were able to achieve. I was then at home for a couple of days, and on Saturday I was back on the organ bench at Wells Cathedral before ma ..read more
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Lessons to be learned
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
7M ago
It has been a frenetic few weeks, overwhelmingly positive in many ways but busy all the same, and the question really is where to start recounting it all. There has been some recording for the BBC, including a run of We Three Kings which should appear on the Today programme (maybe) at some point close to Christmas, an O’Neill-fest at Christ Church, Hampstead (the Blackheath Mass, He Makes His Messengers Winds and the, ahem, award-winning Festive Voluntary), and the first run of The Oxen with the Occam Singers in preparation for their Christmas concert. Around all this I have been preparing mat ..read more
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Sock it to ’em
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
7M ago
It has been a busy couple of weeks, the responsibilities of the conductor’s podium needing to be dealt with cleanly and effectively lest they come up and bite the unwary when they are not paying attention. As a result, I have done less work that I might have hoped on my latest pieces, but I think and hope that the performances have been better as a result. The most recent concert was with the Occam Singers on Saturday just gone, a programme of Bach motets and organ works, demanding pieces that give precious little downtime to their performers. The choir did brilliantly, of course, and I hope t ..read more
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Tidying up
Nicholas O'Neill | Music composition Blog
by ukcomposer
8M ago
It was a week that was light on the composing and heavy on the driving, as I delivered my talk on the music of Max Reger on Friday, played a concert on Saturday, and then did the regular Hampstead/Occam Singers thing on Sunday. However, there are fragments of a new Christmas piece running around my head which need to get down onto paper at some point, hopefully today. I still travel with the symphony in tow, and have also done some listening to our light is here, which has proven to be very instructive indeed. I always enjoy working on paper alone, but have to admit that it is once the music i ..read more
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