(Solo piano) 10'30
Commissioned by Henry Wong Doe with the support of Creative New Zealand.
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):
By David Baker
Only here, through the velar lens of language
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,
in exact proportion to this moment,
down the visible
spectrum while I wait, here always, without you,
at the center of the extending,