Night Liminal
for electronics fixed media
Programme note

Composed during the season of Lent 2012, Night Liminal takes its inspiration, in part at least, from experiences of the service of Compline, the ancient monastic office that brings the day to a close and anticipates the night. Being in a sacred space at dusk is a profound and paradoxical experience, comforting yet unsettling. One is not merely caught between light and darkness, but also between the vast expanse of tradition and the contemporary mystery of the moment; time seems both to stand still and to be fleeting.

For all its apparent placidity, Compline is not merely a committal, but also a preparation, confronting head-on the perils heralded by twilight. Like a vast black ocean, the night can be a dangerous and uncharted place, its boundaries demarcated by the limits of risk and apprehension. Sleep beckons, but remains for now a future hope; rest may well be coming, but not yet.

Night Liminal is primarily intended to be listened to at nightfall, passing through its shadowy threshold into the dark. Whether as an aid to active meditation or passive relaxation, my hope is that this music can become an integral part of the gloaming, teasing out and resonating with both its delights and its uncertainties in a gentle act of quiet provocation and peace.

The work is dedicated to the memory of Jehan Alain, for whom Compline was the most precious and holy of times, and who never wanted them to end.


“a slow-moving exploration of the mystery of the ever-changing moment. […] The overall effect is evocative, hypnotic, creating an equivocal space in which the listener is invited to dwell, but not making it clear whether they should be wholly comfortable. […] Somehow, it taps into an almost medieval fear of encroaching darkness whilst making the process of change an enchanting one.

As an electroacoustic piece, it both harks back to that hard-wired historic fear whilst opening up an undeniably modern space for secure reflection. And make no mistake: the surface soundscape of this piece is beautiful; lulling, warm and utterly, well, bewitching.
Dan Harding, Beyond serenity and a quiet fear, 28 March 2016