Mists and Voices


Composed 1999, duration 10:38

Dedicated to Phyllis Collier.

This piece is dedicated to my grandmother, Phyllis Collier, whose voice and stories form its core. She talks about her experience of the Second World War from the distance of New Zealand, and her relationship to her older brother, David. We become aware that this is a retelling, a memory, which has been reconstructed many times (and once more by the composer in the studio). It has the obliqueness, the fragmentary quality of distant remembering; the meaning is carried as much by what is not said as by what is. The ambiguous relationship between the sonic and the semantic strata underlines this, as do the shifts between real and imaginary environments. The self conscious artifacts of the recording and editing process – background noise and tape hiss – remind us that this is a construct. Still it is one that touches on one person’s particular experience, and ultimately it is the person, more than the story, that is brought into focus.