a luminous moment, unfolded (2017)

Commissioned by: Argo

Instrumentation: String Quartet.

Duration: around 10 minutes.

Premiere: Queensland Camerata, Argo: To The Earth Concert, Spring Hills Reservoirs, 8 July, 2017.

Additional Performances: Briar String Quartet, White Night Melbourne, 17 February 2018; QLD Camerata Regional Tour 2018, Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre, Biloela Civic Centre, Kianga Memorial Hall (Moura), Barcaldine Town Hall, QANTAS Founders Museum (Longreach), 6-12 June 2018; Briar String Quartet, Live on “The Talent 2018” Podcast, September 20 2018; Helge Quartet, Simply for Strings, Brisbane, 20 January 2019.

camerata a luminous moment
Brendan Joyce, Johnny Ng, Anna Colville, and Katherine Philp from Queensland Camerata, performing “a luminous moment, unfolded” at Argo: To The Earth, 8 July 2017. Photo by Karen Hutt.

Program Notes

We think of a single moment as something small, but somehow, it contains the whole world in it. Everything we’ve ever seen, heard, thought, felt, is brought to bear upon it, and countered by the influx of our senses. And the light of the furthest stars is thousands of years old by the time we see it. If you could slice out a single moment, like a sort of cross-section of time, what great complexity of ingredients would it hold?
This piece is an imaginary study of such a cross-section: a moment of great joy, folded out and dissected. In the middle somewhere, happiness, hope, ecstasy. But also, lurking at the perimeter, the memory of suffering that makes joy possible; and the knowledge that it won’t yield to your grasp.
“I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.” – Alan Watts