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(Solo piano) 10'30

commissioning note

Commissioned by Henry Wong Doe with the support of Creative New Zealand.

Programme note


I.         . . .the trillion trillion trillion lovely others sail outward

II.        I have walked this far without you

III.       in exact proportion to this moment

Most galaxies are moving away from ours. We can see this through a phenomenon called redshift, where the wavelengths of light from distant stars are stretched so that the light is seen as shifted towards the red part of the spectrum. The stars themselves aren’t necessarily moving but are becoming further from our galaxy because the space of the universe itself is expanding.


For me, the ever-increasing isolation of our galaxy is sometimes a disquieting feeling, and sometimes a calming one. I’ve tried to capture a sense of expansion and contraction in Redshift, as well as one of remoteness.


The titles of the three movements are taken from the poem "Red Shift" by David Baker (Poetry, August 1989):


Red Shift

By David Baker



Only here, through the velar lens of language

and under


                           the sparkling sky of a new-

moon’s night in a cold month, here



                  –I have walked this far without you–


where the calm chill fractures each isolate

body like a glass,


                                    an emptying fear,

I have come, and stand, myself, abstract


as a star.

                           All around, in the true deep


distances, the trillion trillion trillion

lovely others sail outward,

                                    each toward its

own blank end–shattered cells in a burst heart,


words waving



in exact proportion to this moment,

darkening away


                           down the visible

spectrum while I wait, here always, without you,


at the center of the extending,

                                             memorial grief.

Redshift by Gemma Peacocke
Henry Wong Doe Perspectives album cover
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