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The title is a phrase taken from a poem of my mother's:
"Were we to meet in unexpected places
A sudden warmth would fill the willing air..."
It is dedicated to the memory of Aotearoa composer Jenny McLeod, an inspirational woman and composer. Always reflective, she told me, You can’t fool the Muse, she is higher than God, a memorable phrase elevating the creative impulse. My own composerly balancing of the creative and spiritual involves the belief that each dimension is beyond human understanding. The character of this trio is directly influenced by a visit to a sanctuary in Melbourne, the Mingary Quiet Place.
Intimate, meditative, and generally sotto voce, the willing air’s six movements reflect on Mingary’s elements of nature; rock, water and light, and its invitations to visitors, to, Breathe, Refocus and relect. Touch the stone. Go further. I’m fortunate in having been to many meditative spaces, from Kyoto’s Ryōan-ji rock garden, the Rothko Room in London’s Tate, to The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Mingary had a special impact - its unexpected position on a busy city street, its unassumingness, its absence of gold and riches, its gentle suggestions. While the instruments are the voices of the players, the added use of the human voice deepens a sense of humanity, so I employ humming, whistling and other vocalisations, as well as a steady pace, and a simplicity of material, to encourage a meditative state in the listener.
Commissioned by NZTrio in 2022
to the memory of Jenny McLeod
It is cast in six movements:
1. The Quiet Place
2. Bring me now your stress and sorrow
4. The Rock
5. The Bird's Wing
6. Let there be silence