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David McGuinness's blog


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Thursday 12 October 2000

Yesterday I found myself re-reading Robert Fripp's reasoning behind internet diaries.  I quote: 

My own aim, in asking the other players to contribute Diary entries, is to engage the listening community at an earlier stage in the creative process. Usually, the engagement begins when the audience enters the performance space. Now, this may begin when the performer / composer begins to work with a particular idea. The listening community might then enter the performance space already up and running. If they wish.

I like the 'If they wish'.  Well, today certainly counts as early in the 'creative process'. If you wish to engage with it, here it is. 

I spent most of this morning writing to friendly concert promoters ('remember us?'), and then out of the blue a radio producer rang to see if I would be interested in taking part in a feature about James Oswald, and Scots in London - could be promising. Then off I went to Glasgow University to re-register at the library, leaving with two different editions of The Gentle Shepherd, one of which includes an account of the first performances in the 1720s.  Across the road in the Concert Hall, Mr McFall's Chamber were giving a lunchtime concert, so I popped in to listen, and to drop off my annotations on the multitrack tapes of their tango album.  Robert's going to pass the tapes on to Calum Malcolm, he of the legendary 1980's Blue Nile albums (and the forthcoming Concerto Caledonia CD come to that), who's going to remix for us in November. 

Ninian was guesting on bass with McFalls today, so it was fun to watch him in action from the audience rather than from just across the stage, as his ever-animated expressions move from intense concentration to relaxed enjoyment.  Bass players and cellists are usually good to watch - it's probably just  the physicality of having to wrestle with such a cumbersome instrument and make it flow.  Sometimes I wonder if it's a bit rude that I play with my back to the audience, but it does mean I get the best view of the rest of the band, which can be very entertaining in itself.

A quick post-concert discussion of fortepiano maintenance with Prof. Graham Hair, and then off to the shops in Nin's car for computer sundries and a load of filing stationery.  My copy of the score-writing program Sibelius arrived today, so next week's supposed holiday will probably mutate into an extended software tutorial and exercise in music librarianship.  Most of the music preparation for Concerto Caledonia involves scissors and photocopiers, and given the varied legibility of some of the 18th century material, it's about time I started typesetting it properly for the good of everyone's eyesight.  The Muffat parts in last week's concert gave rise to some complaints ('is that supposed to be an F sharp?'), as the photocopier in Marie's local shop had been a bit under the weather the day I did the cut-and-paste job.

Add to that a chat on the phone to our accountant, and this evening spent looking after the kids, and there you have it: the early creative process. Not very glamorous, is it?