Passiflora

I won this year’s Cambridge Young Composer of the Year Competition with this piece. It was premiered and performed by The Hermes Experiment at West Road Concert Hall on Sunday 30th October 2016.

I now have a professional recording of Passiflora performed by The Hermes Experiment. Please contact me if you are interested in hearing it.

Programme Note

I was very excited about the opportunity to write for the wonderful Hermes Experiment, and to explore the wide range of possibilities the Ensemble offers. I came across them a few months ago when they played a piece by a friend of mine, and I was immediately drawn to their beautiful instrumentation and expressive performance.

"Passiflora" is a setting of a poem, "Southampton Water", by RG Gregory, whom I would like to thank for giving me permission to set his text. I wish to dedicate the piece to the victims of the shootings in Orlando on the 12th of June, and to the LGBTQIA community more widely. I have interpreted the libretto as using elements of nature, in particular the sea, as metaphors for love, and would therefore like the performance to be unconducted if possible to give a greater sense of freedom and natural flow. I felt that writing a piece that gave a perhaps slightly "unconventional" interpretation and perception of love whilst emphasising its naturalness would be an appropriate way to express that LGBT relationships are as natural as heterosexual ones, and should be considered and treated as such.

My second source of inspiration for the piece was some elements of engaged Buddhism, something that has fascinated me now for several years: Using nature as a metaphor for love requires a deep and beautiful feeling of connection with the environment, and this is something I feel is all the more important for humans to experience in modern times as issues relating to climate change and conservation become increasingly serious.

My reason for choosing the title was that the Passiflora is the flower of the passion fruit, and its complex and beautiful structure and colourfulness are, for me, a symbol of diversity and unity, two of the principal values of the LGBTQIA community, which I strongly feel all people, regardless of sexual or romantic orientation, should respect and treasure.

Judge's Comments

An ambitious piece that makes excellent use of the available instrumentation, with some very interesting harmonies and unusual melodic scales. The piece attains its timeless, dreamlike feel with a loose sense of rhythm and flexible approach to meter.

Score

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