Julian Leeks - composer

The Remains of Our Lives

Instrumentation: sop.cl.pf
Duration: 9 mins.
First performance: Sarah Leonard, Stephen Gutman, Mary Barrett. 22nd May 2014, Colston Hall Lantern, Bristol.

Full Score: £11.50

Programme note:
A story of devastating loss. The struggle to continue living. And the gradual assimilation of grief.

The first part describes the immediate reality of an unspecified disaster. A woman wanders, bewildered, through the wreckage of her life. Everything, from her most precious relics to the incidental clutter of everyday life, has been reduced to the same incomprehensible state.

An aleatoric, semi-improvised middle section charts the mental disintegration of the grieving woman as she begins to experience the cavernous void of her existence as daily reality. Obsessive repetitions of pitch and text phrases combine in a chaotic morass, expressing the entropy of a mind bereft of its essential structural framework, endlessly and frantically rehearsing the same regrets and fears, far beyond the point of cognition and meaning.

The third part is concerned with how she reacts when the rest of the world ceases to pay heed of her plight, having cast no more than a respectful glance at her abject desolation. Is this indifference evidence of the essentially cold and heartless nature of life? Or is it an expression of objectivity and continuity; the offer of eternal hope?

Ultimately, the positive interpretation of the world is embraced. Gradually the grief is assimilated, becoming a defining, essential element of being. It becomes almost a source of pride, something to be treasured and nurtured as it is the only thing which keeps the object of one’s grief alive and maintains a consoling link with that which is forever lost.