Animals and birds have often featured in my works. There is a magical connection between the world of nature and the world of human beings. Mysterious raw energies of creation complement and inform the energies of humans in revelations, in intimations of truth, beauty and power.

In my opera Ion, the birds were Ion’s companions “The gods use birds as signs for mortals”…  They save Ion from certain death.  In Black Feather Rising, ravens are at the heart of creative vision, powerful and elemental, the core source of the Raven Caller’s identity.   Disconnection between the man and the world of birds is a constant theme, and runs through the narrative; its resolution is a rite of passage, a source of clarity, upliftment, purity, and strength regained. When the Raven Caller remembers and fully embodies his childhood vision which first connected him to the ravens, he recovers his “wondrous” power and overcomes the demonic energy that has turned him to stone.

The Fish and Peacock in Broken Strings

However I have not restricted myself to birds. Other living forms have also appeared, almost always as instruments of mythological significance. The most prominent use is in the two works Broken Strings and The Theatre of Magical Beings.

Broken Strings saw my first use of creatures in my oevre, with the spectacular creatures invented by dramatist David Rudkin, the Elephant, Fish and Peacock, each of which comes and sings and dances as the master musician Guttil breaks the strings of his musical instrument. The creatures, as I saw them, represent elemental energies, of Earth, Water and Air, and the music took its cues from these powerful key archetypes. Beyond that, and with their association respectively with the colours Red, Green and Blue they represented Human Chakra forms,which give expression to Physical Energy (Aliveness), Heart Energy (Feeling) and Throat Energy (Expression) respectively. Moreover, the creatures symbolized the three musical worlds respectively of Rhythm, Harmony and Melody that Guttil unleashes on the ensemble as his strings break and his virtuosity gradually becomes more extraordinary and otherworldly.