Instinctive Ritual

I am preoccupied with a need for structure and an urge to avoid it. Music is a discipline in which this dichotomy is a real concern and in writing this piece I was trying not to represent a ritual in music but asking whether the ritual and instinctive can somehow be combined.

Theoretically, they cannot. One can follow a pattern or ritual and not know what exactly what will turn out – I think we could agree on that – but can one be instinctive and completely spontaneous or irrational yet somehow already know what you are doing? Can you be on the way to an unknown destination and somehow already there at the same time, or attempting something for the first time already knowing you can do it? I wonder in what sort of place, real or imaginary, these states could be combined.

Listen: Click here to watch a live video recording taken from the premiere by Mariko Brown and Julian Jacobson at the Purcell Room, July 2015. This performance is shared with the permission of the artists for private use only.

Browse the opening pages of the printed score. To purchase a copy please email info@nathanwilliamson.co.uk

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