Piano Sonata No.3
‘Life in Light-years’
duration: 65’
GRT • 234

score available soon from
Australian Music Centre

program note
A light-year is not a span of time, it’s a distance: 5.88 trillion miles. A distance so vast it is hard to imagine. But as we have become increasingly aware of the fragile state of the Earth’s atmosphere and climate, it’s natural enough to wonder if there’s anywhere out there in the Universe that could support life if we had to abandon our own planet. And these possibly Earth-like planets are apparently at least 4 light-years away.

The prospect of humans travelling that far is currently science fiction – conjuring cryogenically frozen journeys through space. Maybe at some point in the future that could be possible. But the scenario affords some perspective in considering our mortal terrestrial lives against the vast expanse and age of the Universe and trying to find some personal meaning in that.

This work for solo piano is written for Georgina Lewis. It was conceived as a single flowing post-minimal movement of around an hour in length and was completed while in residence at the Akiyoshidai International Art Village in Japan. It comprises 19 episodes, some that recur in full, others as fragments in preview or reprise; an arc of life traversing a tapestry of human emotion and endeavour in time and distance.

the emergence of life
the wind sweeps through
the world opens up
the working day
the road
hanging in / holding on
stay the course
waiting for the days to lengthen
the weight of life
empty Universe
life flashing before one's eyes