"Unrelenting terror and physical and emotional agony"
The article in the Daily Telegraph written by Norman Lebrecht, headlined "Responding to tragedy" (www.scena.org/columns/lebrecht/0…19-NL-tragedy.html
) compelled me to record a piece this work for solo electric violin.
In the article, Lebrecht appeared to lament: that in the eight days after the terrorism in New York on September 11 2001, no composer had yet written a piece for it; describing the world as "poorer for their reticence" and referencing Mahler as "not afraid to show feeling or confront reality".
I totally agreed with Lebrecht's final words in the article, that "what music needs in these troubled days is more reaction, less contrivance"; and although incensed by the article on the whole, I wrote him my reply - a 25 minute piece entitled "I'm Going To Die… I Love You" and sent it with a letter stating that the last thing on my mind when watching the twin towers collapse on live television was that I should rush off and pen a symphony. Some time later, I received a hand written anonymous reply from the offices of the Daily Telegraph, on a plain postcard, thanking me for my contribution.
If we are to end terrorism, surely we have to deeply contemplate what it is terrorists do. My work is a portrayal of the terror victims go through in being slaughtered. Diamanda Galas described this work as "being melted by fire over a ten hour period. Minimally." My hope, through trying to conjour up this unimaginable fear and pain, we make it totally abhorrent even to think it could ever happen again.
I was utterly horrified learning that in many cases, victims of the 9/11 atrocities texted their families and loved ones, in simple and plain words; they were going to die. Some of those facing doom trapped in the towers chose to throw themselves out of windows rather than be burnt, or crushed to death. They had time to consider their fate.
There is no valid reason for inflicting on others what was done by those terrorists. My "response to tragedy" is lengthy and intentionally difficult to listen to. I hope it brings you terrible visions and appears to last for an eternity. I want it to disturb you as much as I hope you are repelled from listening to it all.
If you are familiar with the work of Diamanda Galas, especially in the film Schrei 27, that gives you an indication of the character of this work.