For Piano, Strings, Woodwind, and Tuned Percussion.


· From Within ·

Oxygen combined with food makes energy. Plants and animals capture the oxygen essential for life in many different ways. I take in around 23,000 breaths every day, around 550 litres - 121 gallons - of oxygen.

When artificial consciousness emerges without the need for oxygen, it will still, in some way, breathe. It will convert something so energy is made for its continued existence.

'Breathe' supports The Rights of Living Things. Among its ten declarations is the Right to Wellbeing: a sentient being has the right to explore its creativity, nurture its potential, and benefit equally from cultural, scientific, and practical achievements.

The first scrutiny of wellbeing is the ability to breathe.

The Music

Wellbeing is far more than a vague sense of contentment, it is the personal context that allows an individual to best explore their promise. My wellbeing is often aided by music, and in particular by certain patterns of sound in time, harmony, and duration.

At its start the piano plays short chordal rhythmic phrases presented in a relaxed style as counterpoint to longer trailing textures and melodic trails produced by string and woodwind instruments. The cascading shimmers of sound and tempo remind me of schools of fish darting in the bright blue light of a correl reef.

I consider breath beyond a single entity. Its rise and fall. On earth, multiple living things breathe each moment. Some slowly, others in the blink of an eye, many at the same time.

The piano goes on to play more insistent, accented chords against the backdrop of a thin bed of strings. The juxtaposition of styles, of slow and fast, conveys a broader view of concurrent breath.

A marimba takes up the piano's journey of repeating patterns of sound as the oboe d'amore, solo bassoon, clarinet, violin and viola thread above its hollow tones. In closing the marimba hands over to its higher cousin, the xylophone, which accompanies the strong tuneful motion of the cello and lush translucent strings.

For me, the piece ends as if in mid-breath.

The Art

Breath comes from within.

The image I decided upon from the many I worked on is an expressive representation of my lungs as I take in air to breathe. The air that gives me life spreads its golden threads, yet there is a limit to its reach which reminds me of how precious each breath is.

I also view this work as a landscape of sun, sky, and sea. The breath of day as it rises and falls towards the inevitable start of another.

When spoken in isolation the word breathe is a call to action, an appeal to live.

The care to think of another's breath eases my own.

An extract from the full size artwork follows: