Herz Cycle (2016)

Herz cycle – program notes (taken from liner notes from CD)

In 2008, I wrote a song cycle called The Open Road after Song of the Open Road by Walt Whitman. This poem resonated with me, drawing the parallel between a journey as a metaphor for the path each person takes from birth to death and the interrelationship of all living things through the universal soul. It is transcendental and radiates with sublime positivity where every creature can find strength within themselves, forming giant well-meaning jigsaw puzzle. I think of the Herz Cycle to be a comment on this, thinking back to that poem and concluding a darker side to the beaming positivity portrayed by Whitman. The darker side of Herz cycle explores elements of struggle, of hidden torment and unseen mystery. Hints of forbidden witchcraft, blood, an ominous stormy sky and monolithic stones against a darkened horizon can be seen only in the reflections on the surfaces of ponds and puddles. Herz Cycle is about engravings of Holy Mary and her depiction through religious iconography from ancient times to the present day. As the dance piece evolved and the trio emerged as main characters in the narrative of this piece, I began to obsess about the image of the trio and its relationship to the triple Goddess Hekate, who was worshipped and revered in Scotland. Many stone carvings of her are strewn across the ancient countryside. She features prominently in “the Scottish Play”. I began to ponder the concept of the all-powerful female deity steeped in the mysteries of the divine feminine, witchcraft, sorcery, ritual, divination, premonition, hidden wisdom and healing. The cycle takes on a ritualistic quality where each piece could perhaps be a spell.