Written in November 2015 following a commission for the November Cambridge Music Festival.
Phantom, written for violin and oboe, was inspired by Mary Elizabeth Frye's poem "Do not stand by my grave and weep" with a reading of which this performance opens. In it, the poet compares herself to various aspects of nature. The piece is composed of eight very short movements without the silence that is usually expected between them. This is intended to give a sense of dissolution: the central six movements are based on the comparisons made by the poet between herself and nature and the way the movements interweave, giving a sense that the six aspects of nature are, in fact, one entity. The outer two movements, Whispers and Phantom, meanwhile, are based on the lines, "I am not there; I do not sleep" and "I am not there; I did not die". The piece as a whole is a meditation on the impermanence of life and death and on the interconnectedness of all things in nature.
Click here to view an article about the composers' concert where Phantom was performed.
I would like to dedicate the piece and this performance of it to my 17 year old cousin who died in September 2015 in a tragic road accident.
Here is the text of "Do not stand by my grave and weep":
Do not stand at my grave and weep:
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there; I did not die.
Alexia's piece starts at 53 minutes 47 seconds into the video.