Out of the Snowstorm, an Owl


Out of the Snowstorm, an Owl (2018), for string quartet, duration 17 minutes, Premiered by the Brodick Quartet on 8 May 2018 at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow. Commissioned by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

It was a pivotal moment in my life. Two days previously I had walked away from the life that had silenced me and had driven, in a snowstorm, to a house in the North Pennines where I knew I would be safe. I cried, slept and cried again. Eventually I could not cry any more. I sat in the window looking out at twelve inches of snow, sometimes dazzling and sometimes a dull grey. There was a friend too, sitting close by. A barn owl suddenly appeared in view. It glided silently down onto a fence post outside the window. My friend was so surprised that he fainted. It was still there when he came round and we watched it as it surveyed the snow covered world, looking for movement. How hungry must it have been? Then, just as suddenly, it launched itself into the air again and was gone.