Thursday, 19 February 2009

Eternal Light

The Rambert Dance Company's Eternal Light Tour came to Truro's Hall for Cornwall earlier this week.

The title piece, Eternal Light: A Requiem sent a shiver down my spine; it has left a lasting impression upon me. The combination of the choreography, dramatic lighting and live choral music came together to create an experience that was elegiac, poignant and utterly mesmerising.

A requiem is usually based on the Mass for the Dead, which dates back to medieval times, and is made up of a series of movements sung in Latin. Eternal Light echoes that structure. Composer Howard Goodall has used the traditional requiem as a starting point to create something which acknowledges the past but is also fitting for the 21st century. The focus of the requiem has also shifted to providing solace for the living that mourn, evoking the theme that life goes on. Goodall has kept some of the choral accompaniment in Latin, but has also woven in English poetry.

Each movement had a very different feel to it, but every piece was an enchantment woven through movement. A range of emotions unfolded upon stage, enhanced by the careful use of lighting and costume. I loved the intense green light of the first piece, Requiem - Kyrie, performed by the whole company in what appeared to be effortless, organic symmetry. The dark red glow which lit the stage during the sixth piece, Dies Irae, combined with John McCrae's poetry of the poppy fields in Flanders conjured up the image of fierce avenging angels.

As I was watching the performance, I began thinking about my novel, Waiting for Spring and how to develop the central theme of life and death. Towards the end of the story, one of the main characters encounters an angel. After seeing the different movements unfold on the stage, it occurred to me that I needed to create something which would echo the fluidity of the dance, and the interplay between light and darkness.

I got home and started to write.

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