Date of composition: 1996, rev. 2004, 2011
Duration: c. 8 min
Format: Orchestra (18.104.22.168 / 22.214.171.124 / 3 perc. hp. / strings / (doublings: picc., b. cl.,Eng. hn., c. bsn.)
First broadcast: 'Hear and Now' BBC Radio 3, 29 June 2013
Programme note: (download as PDF)
'The light shines in the darkness,
but the darkness has not overcome (understood) it’
Eclipse is an essay in light and dark, clarity and obfuscation, chaos and order. It is built around a luminescent, leaping melodic idea which is constantly present, yet is often veiled or masked by other, darker material. This ‘dark matter’ consists of a variety of individual sound objects which are built from the fusing together of many tiny fragments of sound.
The central melody is only rarely heard unobstructed, and is more often only discernible in part: in extreme cases all that can be perceived of it is its opening interval – a falling minor second. Yet it is never fully extinguished: as in a solar eclipse, the point of deepest darkness is, paradoxically, the moment when the true beauty of the light can be fully grasped.