Home New Music ‘Gathering Light’, Emma Butterworth’s Post-classical Take On The Pandemic

‘Gathering Light’, Emma Butterworth’s Post-classical Take On The Pandemic

Emma Butterworth

Didn’t 2020 feel like a dream? Or a nightmare, for some. As in dreams, time took on a strange elastic quality, a week could feel like a month, or a minute. As our worlds shrank to a mile radius of our houses, as our friends became faces only seen on screens, everything took on a strange, sluggish, waking-up-after-anaesthesia quality. In some ways, the best and worst time for artists. Composer Emma Butterworth takes on the challenge of representing this in ‘Gathering Light’.

Emma Butterworth – Gathering Light

Bristol-based Emma Butterworth gives us this first release from an album written throughout the pandemic, ‘Forward Reverse’.

‘Gathering Light’ is a hazy, piano-led post-classical track, hinting at hope and promise beyond quarantine. 

Inspired by giving birth to her first child in 2020, isolated composer Butterworth began to see the world through his eyes. The result is a mixture of wonder and uncertainty.

The simple piano lines chime like the lullabies of a mobile dangling over a crib, and the warm, swelling strings lend an undeniable sweetness. (The accompanying video of a toddler, presumably the child in question, doesn’t hurt either.)

There’s a sense of innocence and repetition, and yet also hesitancy – the time signature feels uncertain, the melodies are in short phrases, never quite taking off, giving it all a feel of what could be childlike randomness or an adult’s confusion in a strange new world. It’s a beautiful little piece with layers of meaning, and any fans of modern classical should give it a listen.

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Words Eden Tredwell