A friend sends the links to three compositions, Veni Sancte Spiritus, Christor Redemptor Omnium, and Creator alme Siderum, by a twenty-two-year-old English composer named Lawrence Whitehead. The composer discusses his writing of the first and latest composition here:
My process for composing these choral pieces is always to begin by studying the text so that I understand its full meaning: this then allows me to compose music that has the appropriate mood for each section of the piece. Once I have determined how I believe the music should feel, the task of uncovering the music hidden within the words becomes far easier. It is difficult to articulate this part of the process, as it tends to involve my sitting at the piano until I go into some kind of subconscious trance whilst improvising.
It is at this point that some melodic or harmonic idea usually reveals itself. With my previous two choral compositions, settings of Creator alme siderum and Christe Redemptor Omnium, this process allowed me to conceive strong melodic themes. I used these by stating them at the outset of each piece before subjecting them to variation and development throughout the remainder of the work.
He goes on to explain the rest of the process, which will be of particular interest to other creative types, even if you’re a writer or painter and not a musician.