Howard Moody - The composer’s journal
I am looking forward to the first workshop / rehearsal of Solar on June 29. It will be the first time that some of Solar will be sung by ‘The Sun’ (children’s choir), and ‘The Apprentices’ (youth chorus). Having received Anna’s wonderful libretto at the beginning of May, I have written the chorus music for the first two scenes in preparation for our first get together as a cast (without the four principal soloists). We have this precious opportunity to experiment with the chorus singers before I complete the composition of the whole opera, enabling me to hear the actual voices involved.
The main pressure for a composer is always the deadline to deliver the new score. I find that writing music takes such a long time from the first moment at which I have managed to internalise a story and its characters, hear the music in my head and then attempt to write it down. With an opera, it is expected that the rehearsal score is for a solo piano with voices, with the piano simulating something of the energy and colour that will eventually be played by the orchestra. Once in the rehearsal room, there is no time to waste on correcting details and answering questions. Any score has to be accurate, clear and singable. Young chorus singers usually learn by ear and by instinct, so it is difficult for them to re-learn the same music at a later date. Small alterations may be necessary but I have to believe that what I have written will work. June 29 is a chance to meet everyone before I get back to the solitary composing life. I must submit the final complete score in October. Solar is an opportunity to express urgent and important issues through character, myth and music.