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John Luther Adams

The Light Within (orchestra version) (2010)
Work Notes
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Taiga Press (BMI)
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration
Programme Note
John Luther Adams The Light Within (orchestra version) (2010)
Sitting in the silence of their meetings, Quakers seek to "greet the light within". In his work, the artist James Turrell (a Quaker himself) says that he aspires to address "the light that we see in dreams".

On a crisp autumn day sitting inside Meeting - Turrell's skyspace at PS1 in Queens, New York - I experienced my own epiphany of light. From mid-afternoon through sunset into night, I was transfixed by the magical interplay of light and colour, above and within.

Over the hours the sky descended through every nameless shade of blue, to heaviest black. The light within the space rose from softest white, through ineffable yellow to deepest orange. Just after sunset there came a moment when outside and inside met in perfect equipoise. The midnight blue of the sky and the burnished peach of the room came together, fusing into one vibrant yet intangible plane...light becoming colour, becoming substance.

Out of this experience came The Light Within. A companion to The Light That Fills the World (1999/2001), the harmonic colours of this new piece are more complex and mercurial than those of its outward-looking predecessor. Within this more introspective sonic space, the light changes more quickly, embracing darker hues and deeper shadows.

John Luther Adams

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