Title: When Joy Became Mixed with Grief

Year: 2007

Instrumentation: Violin solo

Web link: Performance by Aisha Orazbayeva: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkP1FuXxrKY

Program note:

The title is taken from the final line of a Jainist account of declining beauty (India, 6th century BC)1. Though the language is mythical, the ideas are resonant with contemporary environmental and aesthetic concerns…

‘This age, known as Very Beautiful, Very Beautiful, lasted 400 trillion oceans of years*, and gave way to that known as Very Beautiful, which – as the name suggests – was exactly half as fortunate as the former. The wish-fulfilling trees, the earth and the waters were only half as bountiful as before. Men and women were only four miles tall, had only 128 ribs, and lived for only two periods of countless years… This period lasted 300 trillion oceans of years, declining gradually but inevitably to the stage called Sorrowfully Very Beautiful, when joy became mixed with grief.’

(*An ‘ocean of years’ is one hundred million times one hundred million palyas. Each palya is a ‘period of countless years’.)

      When Joy Became Mixed with Grief