Learning, always learning

I feel like I have gone back to school. The two projects in particular that I am working on are both educative and inspiring, but I would not have thought to do them without being nudged into them. The first, I have been meaning to do for a while, but was waiting to finish my tenth Digitiphony before letting it engross me. I first heard Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen a few years ago, and it had a profound effect on me. I knew then that one day I would have to have a go at re-interpreting it in Digitiphonic style, but this idea was accelerated greatly when my friend, and music engraver, Graham Hall transcribed the whole thing for me (in a week ! - that would have taken me a year if I had tried to do it) into Dorico, which meant that instead of squinting at a pocket score I could port over midi files from Dorico to my DAW, saving me loads of time and inspiring me at the same time, also leaving me with enough energy to re-envisage Strauss' notes through electro-orchestral ears, and also to play with the idea of using the words by Goethe that first inspired him to write the music (it was going to be a choral piece originally, apparently) to take the music into the vocal realm as well as the Digitiphonic one. The second project is a challenge from my friend Richard Howard who, when I completed Digitiphony 10, suggested I write a Tone Poem. This musical form, though more something from the end of the 19th Century/beginning of the 20th than something employed in the 21st, first piqued my interest when I became obsessed with Bax's 3rd Symphony ('Tintagel' by Arnold Bax is one of the best known Tone Poems) and apparently Richard had been thinking for a while I should have a go at composing one. He said I needed to remember a place that meant a lot to me, and base it on that. I had no trouble remembering a place - Kingley Vale in the South Downs, which I first went to as a young child - it was a yew forest, burial mounds, steep hills and a view down to the Solent and English Channel from the top. It is a completely magical place. The reason I feel as if I am back at school is because to complete the challenge I feel I should only use orchestral instruments - as composers who wrote Tone Poems (Symphonic Poems) did, 'back in the day' - despite my natural inclination to compose in Electro, as well as Orchestral, soundscapes.