In Time Of Darkness With Light

· In Darkest Times: Love ·

For Piano, Strings, Woodwind, and Guitar.



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Darkness: the physical and emotional perception of little or no light.

Darkness is often associated with negative thoughts and feelings, perhaps because it is a context of uncertainty and potential danger. Darkness is also experienced positively. I for example sleep best when it is completely dark, and only with darkness do I have the chance to see the ceaseless beauty of the night sky. With darkness I dream, and my imagination is unfailingly enriched.

The psychological darkness I find myself in may be a moment or period with others, or when I am alone. My negative thoughts and feelings are caused by harm of some kind, although it is not always apparent as to the root of how I have been hurt. My social circumstance and loneliness often amplifies my sense of darkness, and as for those more sensitive and thoughtful, the darkness of others is felt deeply. Misfortune, accident, or malicious intent all contribute to my sense of darkness, but the more I become aware of these forces, the better I am able to face and overcome them.

In Time of Darkness With Light is my reflection and expression of how I have found the only remedy to my feelings of darkness, is to love. This is not to place my feelings of love first, but to act with love.

Words and Music

In the work's titles, I use the word light rather than love. I felt that 'In Time/s Of Darkness, Love' may have led some to dismiss the work more easily before looking at the images or hearing the music. The word love in many people's minds might be assumed of as inferring romance, rather than love's far broader reach.

Instrumental music is an abstract art form. If I choose to associate meaning with a piece of music, my ideas will be different to yours. I might think of the speed of music as being happy or sad, that its volume indicates emotional intensity, or that its pitch and timbre shares the travel of a narrative, but these are my personal interpretations, and they likely adopt particular cultural conventions. Meaning is not explicitly conveyed by music alone.

When words are heard or placed alongside music, and this can be as simple as a title, the mind is encouraged to seek meaning as it is given context. 

With these things in mind, for me, there are two forces at play in this music composition. I think of the slow moving and intense orchestral elements as the darkness, and the piano as light. Apart from the very beginning and end of the piece, the piano twists and turns throughout the work, and as it does so, transforms the darkness with its dance. I think of how love does the same.

Visual Art

The abstract artwork above presents my darkness as ink and its interaction with water on a white background. Water is essential to my life. Without these shadowy spontaneous drips and splashes, the page would be plain and without interest. Darkness serves to shape the light, and through its force I discover something unexpected, and at times, beautiful.

The representational artwork below In Times Of Darkness With Light is reminiscent of the work of Pieter Bruegel, a medieval artist whose paintings depicted the lives of poor smallholders or agricultural labourers of low social status. Here I ponder on how those who govern societies can impose darkness on its citizens or neighbours through control and cruelty, and how the people's of these lands nevertheless create pools of light to work by, and warm themselves together as they go about their lives. The moon too, which represents the forces of the natural world, provides light above and beyond the damaging influence of humans.

The final image on this page shows the texture and uncertain approach to the figures in this work by showing a full size extract: