This picture of a solitary dying tree in a sea of white snow at Stourhead stirred up many emotions for me. I wanted the music to reflect the cold isolation of the scene and used a technique in which notes on the piano are held down silently to produce shimmering, high harmonics when notes are played above or below. To begin with bare, open 5ths are heard before the tempo increases, with notes swirling like falling snow. I incorporated a set of Amuzika tuned champagne glasses into this ‘blizzard’ with the tinkling sounds representing falling snowflakes and icicles. Finally the music slows, returning to the opening mood but in a much lower register, the lingering harmonics fading as life is sapped from the ancient oak.
Stark, solitary, ancient oak. Once strong, now weak as kaleidoscopic flakes of frozen H2O descend and settle, blanketing lands in a shroud of icy calm. Whirling, suffocating, dancing, smothering then death, stark, solitary.