The Eyes of Tapio
My starting point was this painting by Sue Cordingley, which I see as a dark mysterious forest. The black 'holes' are portals into the inner soul of the forest. Or perhaps trombones. Or perhaps the eyes of Tapio, the Finnish god of the forest. I set out to interpret the painting in music as a static object, but in the end it turned out to be an exploration of how the image might evolve if it was alive.

The music starts in a restless and mysterious forest in the middle of the night. After a while in the early hours of the morning the forest quietens and becomes more peaceful. Then suddenly the portals open with a fanfare, followed by a short period of nervous anticipation, before the inner spirit appears and the forest is bathed in light. Finally the music ends in a riot of colour, incorporating some of the soundscapes heard earlier in the piece.

I first learned about Tapio when I bought an LP 50 years ago of the tone poem Tapiola by Sibelius. Recently while listening to Tapiola I realised that it had subconsciously inspired this piece. The basso profundo, the swirling strings and the outbursts of raucous brass in Tapiola all find echoes in The Eyes of Tapio.

There are quiet passages and quite a few subtle interplays between various sound textures, so it's recommended that you listen on a sound system that enables you to hear the full range of the music.

© Alan Wrigley Feb 2016  


This song is essentially in two parts, a tribute to those artists and visionaries who are able to rise above and beyond the mundanity of life, and a lament for all the rest of us who fail to escape the shackles.

To emphasise what would be lost if the human race disappeared into a black hole, in the centre of the song I have quoted from Bach's Ich Habe Genug, Mahler's 2nd Symphony, and Stravinsky's Firebird overlaid on top of one another - masterpieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries respectively over a rather mediocre 21st century song.

Oh, and I know I'm not the best singer in the world. No need to tell me.


Few are those who see beyond;
Whose eyes are wide
To the unseen tide,
And who find another truth when truths abscond.

Dimly lit and darkly veiled,
The portal stands
In the unbreathed strands
Of the space outside the carbon chaff exhaled.

She whose soul extends its wings
Escapes the fire
From the Hadean mire,
And trades in beauty where the rainbow sings.

She plucks from its material root
The visceral harp,
With its juices sharp,
A concentrate that's not mine to dilute.

Far above the primal flow
The rhythmic rings
Of unbound strings
Whisper wind-blown colours of orgasmic glow.

But the universe remains two-tiered:
The higher plane
And my field of pain,
And I never reach the angels I've revered.

I sink beneath the carmine lake
While those who fly
Are just passers-by,
With scant regard for stumblers in the wake.

And so amongst ten billion souls
I find my place
In the spiral race
To the edge of darkness staring at black holes.

© Alan Wrigley Jul 2016  


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