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"There are few of us who have not sometimes wakened before dawn, either after one of those dreamless nights that make us almost enamoured of death, or one of those nights of horror and misshapen joy, when through the chambers of the brain sweep phantoms more terrible than reality itself… Gradually white fingers creep through the curtains, and they appear to tremble. In these black fantastic shapes, dumb shadows crawl into the corners of the room and crouch there. Outside, there is the stirring of birds among the leaves, or the sound of man going forth to their work, or the sigh and sob of the wind coming down from the hills and wandering around the silent house, as though it feared to wake the sleepers and yet must needs call forth sleep from her purple cave. Veil after veil of thin dusky gauze is lifted, and by degrees the forms and colours of things are restored to them, and we watch the world remaking the world in its antique pattern… Nothing seems to us changed. Out of the unreal shadows of the night comes back the real life that we had known." - Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)
Out of a dense fog of orchestral texture emerge tantalisingly discernable shapes; as these shadows slowly evaporate the once-obscured forms become clear, and what seemed monstrous is rendered benign.
27 Nov 2012: Performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Tecwyn Evans, at the Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington.