It seems to me that modality is a sure and appropriate musical response to grief at the death of a beloved person. The Mixolydian melody of the Irish folksong ‘She Moved through the Fair’ underscores with rare poignancy a text that tells of a woman who comes as a ghost to the chamber of her lover, and announces that their ‘wedding day’ will shortly be held upon his joining her in death.
I thought for a long time before embarking on this piece, mainly because I realised that my bag of ‘tools’ (taking a cue from my late father – who in early life was an apprentice carpenter, and whose joiner’s tools I still use for practical tasks) was not fit for the purpose I had in mind. I therefore took time to fashion new ‘tools’ to address the material that had presented itself, and to shape it through a valid formal undertaking that would do justice to the solemn procession of grief through the human system.
To this end the work charts a progress through an organised series of sentiments, where abysmal horror and loss are not transformed but studied and endured, and as a result find a less threatening place to exist within the human mind. My purpose here was always to live with the ambiguity of providing a static monument to the beloved while at the same time showing that organic growth away from tragedy is what Nature demands that we accomplish in the name of equilibrium. A state that I believe we are all called to – grief or no grief.