Programme Note:

 Unseen Seasons (2013)

  • In Spring, The Dawn
  • In Summer, The Night
  • In Autumn, The Evening
  • In Winter, The Early Morning

The starting point for this composition was my attempt to re-imagine the seasons evoked so beautifully by Sei Shōnagon at the start of The Pillow Book. Having never personally seen or experienced the seasons of 10th Century Japan – which seems a very distant, almost unreal, world – her words brought to my mind a sense of the difference between the universal familiarity of time passing through seasonal cycles, and the particular qualities of the unique instances to which she draws our attention. She seems to capture, in a few words, impressions of eternal moments, which are nevertheless long passed, having been inevitably subject to processes of change as time moves on. The wisps of trailing cloud on the mountain; the fireflies dancing in the moonlight; the songs of autumn insects; the winter fires dying down. All things I have never known, yet it is precisely the unattainability of the experiences which she describes that makes them enticing to the imagination.

      Unseen Seasons