Timelessness of Trees (2018) for piano, brass, strings, harp, celeste, percussion
The composition ‘Timelessness of Trees’ was specifically composed for the DIG Digital Maker Space Penrith Creative Development Program. The music accompanies a video montage consisting of aerial and panoramic visuals of the natural habitat in the Penrith-Nepean basin. The music was not composed to any visual material – in other words it was not spotted as in a traditional filmic context. The point of departure for this piece was the soothing walks by the Nepean river which inspired me in an imaginative and creative way to sonically depict the environment, simultaneously attempting to embody the concept of trees and nature.
The creative process behind the music was stimulated through the initial concept of ‘trees,’ – thinking about trees, the thought of aerial photography of the natural tree landscape, the revitalizing emphasis created by shade, the verdant and environmentalist verdure (lush, and green), the undisturbed beauty of flora and fauna, the thought of wind sweeping across the trees and rustling leaves, the sheer size of trees, as well as aspects of what one can experience underneath a tree such as meditation, relaxation, sleeping, etcetera. The idea was to paint a picture through the music so that it manifested a natural organicism that embodies the elements of the environmental aura highlighting the beauty of nature in its pure and undisturbed form.
The musical principles at play are predominantly driven through the use of asymmetric time signatures (odd groupings of time signatures) and lyrical melodies that are repeated to create a feeling that we are in the presence of nature. The time signatures shift from 4/4, to 11/8, 7/8, 9/8, 6/8 and back to 4/4. This has been a technique that I have been exploring in my music and in relation to the concept of nature and trees, the aim was to create a seamless transition that feels natural and organic in the way the music was designed. The choice of instrumentation such as the Tibetan singing bowl for example can be associated with the idea of meditation and pureness – a refreshing setting or moment that we may experience whilst sitting or meditating beneath a tree. The use of sonic timbres that of swelling brass instruments create a textural feeling as to highlight the macro design such as the dominance of nature in the form of sheer height and girth of trees, the vastness of trees spread out across the landscape, and the winding stretch of the Nepean river over the valley. On the other hand, the strings, flute, and celeste complement the micro design so as to highlight the more delicate aspects of the natural environment such as the insects, the plenitude of flowers, leaves, branches and other elements that are a part of this natural microcosm.
‘Timelessness of Trees’ was presented as part of the audio-visual work ‘Urban Futures’ which was premiered at the Joan Sutherland Center for the Arts on 25 May 2018.