Elegy

How we approach endings says a lot about us as people. “Elegy” was written when I was faced with an ending. It is one of the most personal pieces of music I’ve written as composing this piece helped me express my grief and mourning after the sudden death of my mother. For me, playing the piano was (and still is) the way I feel able to express the deep thoughts and emotions that I can’t find words for. Some people write, others paint; I play the piano. The moments where I need to express grief or regret often seem to be played out sitting on a piano stool.

The time lapse video footage shows various herbs growing. I love the way that the route of the growth of these plants is unpredictable. The growth of some of the shoots seems to be thwarted as they go off at different angles, not following some uniform upwards pattern. However, each shoot does not give up, but finds its own path upwards, its own unique path bringing an even greater beauty to the overall picture.

I wanted to end the video with the image of the flower – we seem to live in an age where “getting older” is seen as being a bad thing, one of lost opportunities, worse job prospects, etc.. Sure enough, regret and grief are often with us, but an elegy is not the end. How ever many regrets we have, how many missed opportunities we lament it is never too late for new beginnings to spring forth. “From the end spring new beginnings” is a quote from Pliny the Elder, an ancient Roman scholar, and is one that can inspire each of us onwards. My mother believed that even death was the start of a new and wonderful beginning.  I think it was because of my mother’s eternal optimism that the composition has a peaceful feel interwoven into the melancholy – I didn’t plan to write it that way – it just came to me like that.

I hope in some small way the piece and the video inspire and enable you to express and move on from whatever current challenges of grief and regret you may be working through.

All the best,

Ben

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