Penultimate Draft – Behind the Composer Scenes

I’ve just had a composition lesson with Benjamin Oliver; he suggested that this piece perhaps needed one more strain of material running through it. Here is the score / computer audio before I tackled this! What do you think?


The piece will be premiered on June 30th at Royal Academy of Music as one of their 200 PIECES Anniversary Commissions by Sofiia Matviienko.

Here is the programme note:



When Sofiia and I met in January 2022, she spoke of how she had eluded the presumptions and expectations of many in her immediate rural community when becoming a musician. Through her flute playing, she found a distinct voice and direction, combining her heart for home with reaching past what had automatically been imagined for her.

I wanted to write something as a means to purely express, to take up space, to venture. I wanted to write something as simple and as beautiful as I could.

On 24 February 2022, Russia launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine. On that day, my purpose in writing this piece became an expression of love, pain, and solidarity with Sofiia and Ukraine.


3 thoughts on “Penultimate Draft – Behind the Composer Scenes”

  1. Harriet Wybor

    This is so beautiful, I love the clarity in the way you have written this which captures the character of the instrument so well. Do you feel that the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed how you approached this piece musically, or was it more the feelings behind it? The four-note motif you use at the beginning throughout is wonderfully enigmatic and I wondered if there was any link to the title of the piece? I thought I could hear the words when I was listening to it, but perhaps I’m reading too much into it…!

    1. Yshani Perinpanayagam

      Thank you, Harriet!

      I didn’t officially change my approach to writing in February – I just couldn’t bring myself to analyse how exactly I could translate my thoughts on such a huge and painful event into deliberate sounds. I decided that the fact my thoughts were a jumble was what I’d let come through.
      Direction, a pause, reprocessing.

      I wrote the opening motif in the first phase of composing and I confess it’s based on nothing other than gut instinct! It was my best try at simplicity and beauty. I’ll be interested to analyse this piece in the future – I don’t really know how ‘tight’ it is in its use of material – it pretty much just came out of me.

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