I started writing NANGA in Autumn during long walks through rainy fields, and continued into the tired Winter nights, through Spring, with bursting energy of slowly returning postlockdown traffic, and completing it finally in the generously sunny Summer. It has been a strange year, with long periods of isolation, very little social life, prolonged moments of stillness and refection, while I was living a very active inner life of ideas, thoughts, memories, creative flow and frustrations. All of that sank into the musical landscape of this composition: a record of a crisp delicacy of the first frost, sentimental afternoon memories provoked by scattered sunbeam, the burst of thoughts in the deep, dark Scottish winter nights. Overall, NANGA is a very active piece. I imagined it as a wave of energy, an unrelenting force embodying the constant change from ever passing time. The wave returns in its cycle three times, finally being taken over by violoncello Cadenza (co-written with Gemma Rosefield), and settling onto the long rumbling Coda in the lowest register of the instrument. I have chosen the title, NANGA, for its sound rather than meaning. The sound of this word can be found in a variety of cultures, it will mean the highest compliment in one language, and an insult in another, a musical instrument on one part of the planet, and a mountain on another. For me, nanga sounds like a soft but strong jump forwards, an assertive start with strong and direct aim, a peaceful pool of water dropping into a powerful waterfall on its end. It is very versatile; it can unlock many contradictory meanings within the piece, all of them united, however, by the flow of one musical stream aiming towards the grounded finale.

© Ruta Vitkauskaite


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