Medium: Duet for Harp & Marimba
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Difficulty: Grade 5
Labyrinth of Light is a musical representation of the three stages of a labyrinth walk. The first stage, Purgation, is the journey from the entrance to the goal, This is the path of shedding or “letting go,” where there is a release and an emptying of concerns. The piece opens with a series of glissandi in the harp, answered by a fading ostinato in the marimba followed by a winding ostinato in the harp. This gives the impression of taking deep breaths and slowly letting exhaling. The second stage, Illumination, is found at the center of the labyrinth, where there is insight, clarity, and focus. It is here that you are in a receptive, prayerful, meditative state. Musically, the harp and marimba trade reflective, quasi-improvisatory moments, which is followed by a return of the labyrinthine harp ostinato from the beginning. The third and final stage, Union, is the path out of the labyrinth, which is characterized by becoming grounded and integrating the insight. It is being energized and making what was received manifest in the world. This section opens much like the beginning of the piece, with harp glissandi leading into a fading ostinato in the marimba. However, this time the harp joins the marimba with the same ostinato while simultaneously stating a version of the main theme. The two instruments are much more in sync in this section than the rest of the piece, which is more characterized by polyrhythms and shifting time feels.
Labyrinth of Light was commissioned by Anna Kate Mackle and John Shaw and received its world premiere in July 2018 at the Eastern Music Festival.