At the end of last year I had just finished composing the music for a theatre piece which happily moves forward in New York. I get itchy when i’m not writing, so I was keen to work on something new. I had always wanted to write a Requiem, although to be fair it was a desire that came from being a misunderstood genius in my teens and I imagined that I would die young and my own Requiem would be played at my funeral, where the impact of this masterpiece would send everyone into shock and regret at how my extraordinary gift was not realised and appreciated whilst I was still alive. and how sorry everyone would be. But it was too late.
So, I didn’t die young - and I grew up a fair bit (and had lots of therapy).
But I came back to this idea to write a Requiem - and I honestly can’t remember how the focus shifted to Animals. These ideas really do seem to drop in from the sky.
I am crazy about animals. All of them. There is an innocence, vulnerability and endless capacity to love -whatever the conditions are that surround them. Truth is, i’m a bit of a weird fucker. Close friends and family - husband topping the list - make huge allowances. But i’m never going to have Kardashian popularity, besides my arse is not big enough and my hair is limp and dull. We have 5 dogs, all different, mostly rescue, one flown over from Antigua found nearly dead by the side of the road. They all LOVE me. Despite my mood. Its priceless.
We all know that throughout the world there are many animals loved and cherished - but also abused and neglected. I personally find it almost impossible to watch the series of videos that come up on my social media about human beings capacity for cruelty. It causes me physical pain in my chest. However, something I noticed recently is a rising in consciousness around the planet not only for the planet itself, but for the treatment of animals as sentient beings. I credit the “millennials” for a great deal of this. The generations younger than me, who have great passion and take personal responsibility to make changes. I don’t see anger and blame for the current state of the world. I find it extraordinary and inspiring.
In the last 5 years I have said goodbye to four dogs - all living into old age thankfully. They all took a piece of me with them. There are no words to describe the heartbreak felt. Someone said to me that the pain we feel is equal to the love we felt.
Bear with me, i’m tying it all together - i’m not a great writer. When I was 17, while a lot of my friends were waitressing or working in the high street to earn money for Marlboro lights, I spent 2 years playing the organ in our local crematorium. I played for over 2,000 funerals. I understand the importance of the funeral on many levels. Silent and dignified - it is an opportunity to grieve, to say goodbye respectfully, to remember, to honour and to celebrate.
So the Animal Requiem is in response to all of the above - A memorial to honour and remember all the animals we have personally loved and lost - at whatever age - all animals we love today, to raise consciousness of the suffering and neglect of any animal and to facilitate change through music and love.