Day five was the most tiring, intense and stressful day of the lot. Writing three minutes of music, entirely by hand, in a crowded environment, for instruments I had never written before and in just 24 hours was, to put it lightly, hard work. But this is not a complaint; that’s what I came for.
Contrary to what you may think, I actually found that some of my most creative ideas stemmed from this struggle of composing under such intense time pressure. Additionally, the added pressure was representative of some of the emotions I wished to portray in my final piece – maybe being uncomfortable would help me to depict the sense of being uncomfortable… Who really knows?
This whole process was made slightly easier by the fact that we had such incredibly talented musicians on call to answer any questions we had. I had decided that I would use the clarinet as my ‘solo’ instrument, and so my mini sessions with the clarinettist proved invaluable for me. He enlightened me on extended techniques which I could use, and also showed me what would work and what wouldn’t work so well about my clarinet writing. This helped me to produce what I would consider a good clarinet part.
By the end of the day, after almost 12 hours of solid work, I had a typed up score of my piece, which I had still yet to hear (although I had heard the parts individually in my sessions with the players, I had not heard them together). Consequently, I wasn’t entirely sure that I was finished, but I hoped beyond hope that what I had concocted would sound alright… And so, the anxious wait for the first recording began.