Watch the performance video on YouTube.
Lesions (2017) was originally written for a trio of horn, clarinet and cello, and commissioned by Paul Dean for Ensemble Q (Brisbane, Australia). This 2018 version for horn and piano was created for Peter Luff and myself to include in our 2018 US tour.
Live recording from Peter Luff's BGSU visiting artist recital, October 27, 2018
Performers: Peter Luff (horn) and Catherine Likhuta (piano)
Bryan Recital Hall, Bowling Green, OH, USA
Program notes: The term “lesions” refers to regions in organs and tissue which have suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess or tumour. I first heard this term in 2004, when my mother (age 42 at that time) was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Multiple Sclerosis. While she had suffered from many disturbing, unexplainable and painful symptoms for sixteen years prior to that, the diagnosis of MS did not bring us any relief or closure.
Virtually every family has a loved one who is suffering or suffered from an incurable illness. While this is a very heavy subject, I believe it is definitely worth talking about, for two simple reasons:
1. To show those who are affected that they are not alone and that there are millions of people in the world who are going through similar struggles;
2. To remind those lucky few who have not been affected that we have to keep looking for cures every day.
Lesions is written in four parts that represent four most common stages of dealing with incurable illness: Sadness, Anxiety, Denial and finally Acceptance. The absence of a pause between the last two movements has an extra-musical meaning: though denial and acceptance are antithetical states of mind, many patients find themselves stuck between these two for a long time, sometimes for the rest of their lives. The new reality is too difficult to accept, yet the symptoms are just as difficult to deny.
Lesions is a collaborative piece that does not have a clearly defined soloist. Instead, horn and piano work together to create the atmosphere of sadness, struggle and seclusion through the joint exploration of textures, colours and emotions.