Vigil for Gaia

This piece was written in September 2017 as a commission following my winning The Cambridge Young Composer of the Year Competition in 2016. It was premiered and performed by The Phaedra Ensemble on Sunday 29th October at 5.00 pm at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge.

Programme note

I wish to dedicate this piece to my wonderful former A level Music teacher, Mrs Kate Murdoch, Director of Music at Hills Road Sixth Form College, Cambridge.

Gaia was the Goddess of the Earth in Greek mythology and has since been widely used as a metaphor for nature across many art forms. The word "vigil", with its connotations of observation and spiritual reflection, suggests to me a seeking of truth in something greater than ourselves. In Buddhism, it is believed that reality is empty of inherent existence- beyond concepts and human understanding, not in a nihilistic sense, but rather in one akin to pantheistic views of the divine. Thus, "Vigil For Gaia" is a reflection on ultimate truth being present everywhere in nature, and on our capacity for a gradual but complete realisation of this. I transcribed the opening cello melody from which the rest of the music unfolds while listening to the wind, and the increase in freedom of rhythm and line throughout the piece is intended to give a sense of becoming closer and closer to this realisation. All our concepts dissolving as a result, we are left with the knowledge that everything we observe is inherently divine. In a world in which the environment is constantly exploited for human gain, this idea is arguably immensely powerful and moving.



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