Out of the Darkness, Into the Light

Commissioned by Dr Peter Boonshaft for the Hofstra University Symphonic Band from Hempstead, New York, and first performed by them in May 2003.

It is about optimism. All of us experience disappointments in our lives, such failed relationships or the loss of loved ones, but the indomitability of the human spirit allows us to overcome such set backs and get through the darker moments. For some, faith and religion may be the answer, but this piece is more about the internal strength that we can all call upon.

Opening in sombre mood, the first phase of the work symbolises the doubts we all have about ourselves and our lives. The opening phrase on solo clarinet appears throughout the piece and could be seen as the central idea of the work, the human spirit itself. The faster, central section is about the struggle to overcome the pain we experience and at bar 88 the moment of catharsis occurs. This signals a change of mood and from then on, the clarinet motif is transformed into a feeling of joy and optimism. We have entered the light.