A Dark Doorway


Duration 7’
Instrumentation 2(II=picc).2 (II=Ca).2.2 (II Contra) – 4.3.2 (II Bs).1 – perc(2) – harp – strings
First Performance 17 February 2024; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, conducted by Robin Ticciati
Commissioned by the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin
Charlotte has a worldwide, exclusive publishing agreement with Birdsong
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Dedicated to Diane Foley

Love and loss: a mother’s love for the son she has lost. He was taken from her far too soon, killed by ISIS. In an astonishing turn of events, principally because she wants him to know who her son was, she takes the staggering decision to confront his killer. Recounting Diane Foley’s story in his book, American Mother, Colum McCann writes of her son’s killer, “It strikes her that he is a dark doorway: somewhere there, in front of her, her son waits.”

The sound-world is quiet yet intense, unison string tremolos quiver through the ensemble. She longs for her son. Woodwind and brass make a gradual entry, shining through the texture. Shivering whispers represent the isolation of her loss, pain and vulnerability. Sweeping, expressive, elegant melodies shape the musical fabric in the second section, gradually transforming. Faster material builds confidently, with hope and belief. The opening material returns, transformed: cor Anglais leads the melody with solo violin poignantly floating high above.