Out of Light – BBC Proms Preview

Written by: Julian Philips

OUT OF LIGHT was completed in July of this year, and commissioned for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for premiere at the 2001 Proms. Described as a symphonic poem for large orchestra, it charts a symphonic progress out of light into darkness.

Two waves of musical energy shape the piece – the first bright and expansive, the second dark and brooding. The music crosses the distance between these two expressive worlds with a central ’song without words’, dominated by muted strings, harps and piano. Only in the final coda is there any attempt at reconciliation, with ghostly reminiscences of earlier material disappearing into silence.

Although OUT OF LIGHT was inspired in part by the journey from youth into adulthood, its intentions are abstract and non-programmatic. Listeners can find their own resonance and meaning in the piece as it unfolds.


  • Tadaaki Otaka conducts the world premiere of Out of Light at the Proms this Sunday, 2 September, with music by Richard Strauss, Bartok and Rachmaninov. The concert begins at 7 o’clock and is broadcast live on BBC Radio 3

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