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When Science Meets Poetry: The Making of The Light Messenger

As a composer, collaborating with talented performers is always an exciting prospect. That's why I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with my close friend, violinist Fenella Humphreys, on a new violin concerto entitled "The Light Messenger."


Fenella and I share a passion for creating beautiful music that speaks to the heart and soul. We had talked about collaborating on a new piece for some time, and finally, the opportunity presented itself.

 

The piece explores the fascinating concept of Hawking Radiation and the ancient poem "The Cloud Messenger," examining the dichotomy between these two seemingly unrelated subjects. The poetic link between Hawking radiation and The Cloud Messenger lies in the communication between two seemingly disconnected entities. Just as the poem describes a messenger who travels through the clouds to convey a message of love, Hawking radiation represents the emission of particles from a black hole that communicate information about its properties to the rest of the universe. In both cases, there is a sense of something being transmitted across vast distances, creating a connection between disparate entities. The Light Messenger, as a musical exploration of this theme, seeks to capture the beauty and wonder of this connection through the use of microtonality, creating a unique and evocative soundscape that brings these ideas to life.

 

We workshopped the piece in the Dukes Hall at the Royal Academy of Music with the talented conductor Aaron Holloway-Nahum in September 2022. The rehearsal process was an exhilarating experience as we worked together to bring the piece to life.


One of the challenges of composing for the violin is finding ways to make microtonality idiomatic for the instrument. It was important to us to explore this technique in the context of the piece, and we were excited to see the ways in which Fenella pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the violin.


As we continue to refine and develop the piece, we are excited to see where this collaboration will take us. Working with Fenella and Aaron has been an inspiring and rewarding experience, and I am thrilled to see "The Light Messenger" take shape. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to work on this exciting new concerto.


Thank you for taking the time to read about our collaboration. We hope that our music will inspire you as much as it has inspired us!

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