Meditation at Dusk
This is one of those calmly satisfying occasions where a circle that was started a long time ago is brought to a close. I first had the idea for this piece in 2010, most likely (I no longer even remember the year!). I remember the exact moment it happened, though. I was heading home in the afternoon, changing trains at Wolli Creek station, and it was raining moderately hard. I just remember feeling melancholy, because of the rain more than anything else. I was presumably perceptive to compositional ideas at the time, because the opening figure of this piece - three rising notes, once repeated - came to me, almost like an upward sigh. Those three notes were enough to determine the entire character and subject-matter of this piece. There was something incredibly calming about them, and so the theme of this piece naturally became a type of meditation. A combination of meditative calmness and physical pain
gives the piece its louder, more climactic moments. I was greatly inspired in this vein by my experiences of mountain-climbing, especially the Huangshan mountain range in China - a mixture of pain and pleasure, culminating in victory when you reach a peak, and the whole of the mountain range is suddenly revealed before you, which you stare at until you breath returns, and you start feeling the cool air enveloping you again.
In terms of thematic material, this piece is built on just two short motives, which
alternate, combine and repeat themselves in different guises throughout the piece.
An interesting feature of the orchestration is the two separate string
orchestras: one in the background, one in the foreground. The one in the
background begins by symbolically sounding out regular breathing
figures, while the one in the foreground carries the melody.
Later on, woodwinds and brass enter to give the piece a wider
range of colours, depth, and weight to the climactic moments.
Though conceived in 2010, and composed mostly between 2010-2011, progress
stopped after I reached the first big climax... I remember being very unsure how to continue. I finally came at it again with a fresh mind in late 2018, and found I had little trouble in sketching out the rest of the music and orchestrating the rest of it. I finally completed it just two days ago at time of writing (25 April 2019). I look forward to being able to share a recording in the near future!
UPDATE (14.01.2020) - I have made a 'virtual recording' - using beautiful MIDI software. Take a listen: