‘Amid your candles and lilies’

For flute and 9 solo strings

I think of you late at night, in my study, over my brandy.
I imagine you sitting amid your candles and lilies,
Keeping your solitary wake. No candle I know holds a candle to your candles

Harold Pinter, 1977

This piece was planned and named at the end of 2008, before the death of the author of the words that make up its title and epigraph. (above) Following the death of Harold Pinter on Christmas Eve 2008, a few important aspects of the piece became obvious to me. Firstly, the piece would have to be dedicated to him, as a kind of elegy, and secondly, for a man whose relationship with the notion of death was a profound and complicated one, it couldn’t be an elegy at all; at least not in any ordinary sense. Death, for Pinter, was tragic, humorous, poetic and above all, a kind of release from earthly din. I think specifically of the character of Bridget from his 1994 play “Moonlight.” This central figure in the play represents and sums up, with an indirect elegance synonymous with Pinter’s approach, this complicated relationship. The main melodic theme of the work is identified on the score as the “moonlight” theme, and brings about the final chorale and catharsis.

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