Journey into Exile & Suantrai - solo
Level 4 - with two mp3s
Journey into Exile and Suantraí are harp solo excerpts from the large scale Choral-Orchestral work entitled “Colmcille” which is a cantata based on the life of the 6th Century Saint Colmcille (or Columba). “Journey into Exile” was composed to accompany the story of St.Colmcille’s departure from his beloved Derry in Northern Ireland to set sail for Iona, the remote rocky island off the south west coast of Scotland where he was to establish his last monastery. In concert, the composer often combines this piece with Suantraí which, while originally composed and dedicated to her brother, was rewritten into the Colmcille Suite as a prayerful lullaby representing the hope that we all find peace within ourselves no matter what tragedies life brings.
Suantraí (meaning ‘lullaby’ in Irish) was originally titled ‘Lullaby for Daniel’ and composed for the comforting of Janet’s brother Tony and his wife Kathryn on the death of their first child Daniel in April 1996. The piece was composed in the final week of Daniel’s life and is based on a simple and gentle rising motif from D to the 5th note A. Then, from the top of the octave descending with the raised 7th to the strong G implying an instability between the harmonies of 4 and 5, finally coming to rest on the lowered 7th resolving properly through the chord of 4 (G) to the home chord again with the melody coming to rest on the 5th below. The idea is in meditation to bring the mind and emotions to a quiet place – emptying the imagination to allow the spirit to make itself heard. The quest is for resolution, of all: the melody and the questions raised with life and with faith when tragedy affects the innocent. The separation of the C sharp above the home note (tonic) and the C natural below is meant to remind us that we will not always understand what is in the greater scheme of the universe and the divine. Perhaps the life of baby Daniel fulfilled its quest in ten months that he lived. Indeed his was a very blessed life with all the care and strength, courage and depth that it brought to the surface for everyone that was touched by his specialness. I hope that Suantraí brings some resolution and comfort to all who hear it, whether dealing with grief, illness or misfortune, stress or just inducing blessed restfulness.
Also available as an ensemble