for Bb /bass clarinet, flute and cello. For Ensemble Variances (8’)
Premiere 24 April 2017, St. George’s Bristol.
This piece takes its impetus from a counterintuitive strategy for the one of the more difficult challenges of life: the human process of facing unconscious, usually unwelcome desires and obsessions. It is based on the Tibetian Buddhist cathartic practice called Chöd originally appearing in 11th century Tibet by the renowned Machig Labdrön and developed into a modern, more thereputic technique of introspection by Lama Tsultrim Allione. Instead of fighting demons or escaping, the method developed by Allione (after Machig) embraces, celebrates, and tries to understand the desire of the desire-demon, and even asks the subject to become the ‘demon’ for a time in order to understand the true need beneath. The process of becoming what one’s ego doesn’t consciously accept is hugely integrative for the Shadow and provides unexpectedly powerful means of facing one’s desires and fears in a constructive, integrative way. Instruments in this ultimately playful work represent levels of desiring energy on ever-shifting planes that clash, feed off of, and ultimately embrace one another.