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This can be viewed on YouTube -


Silhouette of Starlight - In this piece I have tried to evoke what it is like to be sitting or standing motionless, or running, perhaps on a mountain, on a brilliantly clear night. Over a long period of time, even these simple activities become difficult, the body resists and wants to move or stop. Some more effort takes us further, until the struggle reaches the point when we can all but give up. Then, just observing gently, expanding our awareness, resistance and effort fall away, and all at once we find ourselves among the stars.

Silhouette of Starlight was born out of a collaboration with the guitarist Craig Winston for the Twisted Spruce Online Symposium in the summer of 2021, and our conversations about many fantastic things. It is based on a unique and at the same time universal occurrence in particular activities and practices, in our case long-distance running, ritsuzen or seated mediation, when difficulty can become too much, but we still have to go on. We had both noticed that if we observe this struggle at a gentle distance, simply noticing what is happening in the body, it is quite possible to continue.

The title comes from my daughter, Amily, who somehow knew perfectly the image I had in mind and captured it succinctly in words.

The most important aspects of the piece for the performer to bring out are the atmosphere of the piece, the subtle gradations between tone, percussive sounds and silence, and the clarity of the rhythmic sections, especially towards the end.

The piece begins, emerging gently, rising and falling, with sparks and sparkles of tones shimmering in and out of silence, gradually expanding into waves as stability is increasingly disrupted. The clarity of the tones is eventually lost in the force of the effort driving the piece forwards, erupting into percussive sounds on the body of the instrument, until there is no ground to remain upon and we find ourselves floating far away. As the forward motion continues, rhythmic momentum builds, pitches gradually expand outwards until the entire universe is full of light. In this broad expanse of infinite space, we disappear into the same silence we emerged from, as the last wisps of music glimmer past us.

Silhouette of Starlight by Roni Glaser

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