Mettre en Liberté
Composition Date: 2020
Duration: c. 5.45′
Instrumentation: Solo Piano
This piece was composed over the (Australian) summer months of 2019-20. Looking back on it now, I can’t help but hear that I was somehow expressing my own feelings of loss, tension and anguish in the music. Yet, the music, as I hear it, is not just about emotional pain. Things are more complicated, even ambivalent: there are, along the way, hints of a possible resolution, a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, even moments of tenderness.
In the end, I must have worked through things as much as I could — no doubt, aided by the catharsis of writing the music. And so the music finishes with a kind of exhausted and tentative letting go.
There were, of course, personal issues behind the scenes, but I am sure that these were entangled with and accentuated by my reactions to the terrible bushfires that raged around Australia at the time. Dense acrid smoke surrounded us on all sides, for weeks on end. But this paled next to the tragic loss of human lives and homes, and the unfathomable destruction of so much innocent animal life and our immense, precious forests.
The piece came to a close just as the fires and the smoke were starting to ease. So much had been lost — and it was impossible to see how it could ever be restored, at least not in our lifetimes. Yet there was also the overwhelming response of shared grief and generosity from people around the world. And the courage and tenacity of our own firefighters, together with the way that communities reached out to help each other during the crisis.
So, in the end ‘mettre en liberté’, for me, did not mean closure. It was more about finding a way to live with what has happened, and remembering that there is still enough goodness in the world to keep hope alive.