Gentle Reader, in reporting on the latest progress with the (to give it its full and proper title) Symphony № 1 (more on which below), Opus 143—if I am to be completely truthful—I am faced with something of an apparent contradiction. The third movement is not finished—there remains a (little, a very little) bit of work to do—but I can relate with pleasure that the composition is now complete, that I (and most of the orchestra) have made it at last to the final double-bar. “Most of the orchestra,” while I am still finalizing just what I want the oboes to play here, the bassoons there, but the movement is now decidedly 262 measures of music, the whole running (let us say) five and a quarter minutes. The remaining work will not, probably, take long, but the composer does have activities this evening and next which may put off the work; I pray you, do not ascribe the delay to laziness, or otherwise any lack of application.
There is a certain seeming of presumption, I know, in setting out to write the piece, and at the outset designating it #1. In my defense, and unlike numerous times in the past when the general thought , Gee, what if I write a symphony? sauntered into my mind, when I set out to compose this piece in the first week of October, I felt immediately that this was the musical task I wanted to undertake, and that I was determined to bring it to fairly rapid completion. Also, I reasoned that if I could (as I had every intention of doing) actually finish a symphony in good order now, it is no great stretch to assert that I should later write another.