The Kiss of Autumn Night

· Northern Hemisphere • Autumn Equinox ·

For Strings, Piano, and Woodwind.



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In the English language, one letter separates the words Night and Light, and most beautifully, the M of Moon rests between them...

Autumn where I live is a time of wild berries, falling leaves, morning mist, and dew, but my most magical moments during the last third of September are when I look up at the teaming stars that tumble into view each evening as a glistening wave of shoaling fish.

This music emerged unexpectedly from a simple piano improvisation I performed in a single sitting. I moved and reversed the notes along an elastic line of four bars before beginning work on the orchestration. Playing sounds in order and reverse reminds me of the returning arcs of our planetary neighbours as viewed from the earth.

My method of composition suits my need to maintain the spontaneous, instinctive, and mysterious qualities that I particularly enjoy in art. I am both head and heart, and my creative process is as much an emotional journey as it is full with thought.

I am continually in awe of how the relationships between two elements so radically change our experience of them. Whether sound, light, shape, words, animal or human... Coming together is so often far more than remaining apart and separate. Together, things grow and become new.

The stage of sound expands from the intimate to the epic. From solo piano, to strings, woodwind, brass, and percussion. In the second half of The Kiss of Autumn Night the resounding and persistent timpani binds the ear as multiple melodic pathways are eventually calmed by the darkness and beauty of falling voices. A cacophony of dissonant sounds declares in small part the clear night of a remote and radiant wilderness waiting to be discovered. The piece ends with the backwards breath of the first note as when I loose sight of a star at dawn.

During the month of September from my home in Southern England, the beauty of the night sky becomes ever more visible with each passing day. The countless pinpricks of white and blue light are presented in the image as luminous flower-like forms high above.

The autumn equinox is the start of a new season, when night and day are equal in duration. The darker the night, the brighter the stars. Here I show the darkest night of all...

There are some who feel saddened as the summer comes to an end, but I look forward to the flowering darkness and kiss of night. As the ocean overhead slowly turns, I consider the season of my birth. Night is not the absence of light, but the chance to see far more.

The artwork is my largest to date. When printed, it is well over three meters square. As the music plays I imagine gazing at this piece in a large gallery space during the day, and stepping out into the great unknown at night...

A full size fragment from the related textural draft that is a third the size of the main work follows.