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By Sally Whitwell

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Piano Solo - Advanced Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by Sally Whitwell. Contemporary Classical. 5 pages. Published by Sally Whitwell (S0.439707).

Item Number: S0.439707

At the end of July 2016, I was in my hometown Canberra for a job interview. I was sick as a dog with laryngitis for the interview and audition. Imagine me trying to take a choir rehearsal with no voice? It was never going to happen for me and I was feeling pretty sorry for myself.

Halfway back to Sydney on the bus, I get a text from my dear friend Emma. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist of it was “No easy way to say this. We lost Jeff today”. Jeff being Emma’s beloved husband and all round awesome human.

It was truly devastating. I didn’t know what to do. I felt terribly guilty for thinking of myself and my employment failure all day instead of thinking of Emma and Jeff, even though that was completely irrational. Didn’t want to call because I knew she’d have enough stuff to deal with. Couldn’t turn around cos Public Transport. Had lost the ability to formulate sentences because in that situation, there are no words. So I fell back into the place where I express most clearly. Music. And into my native habitat, the piano. Passacaglia came flowing out very quickly. I hardly stopped to edit. Normally I would try to plan a composition a bit, so that it’s structurally sound. I didn’t do that but somehow it just emerged fully formed. 

I sent it to Emma who asked if I could come and perform it at the memorial service. But I couldn’t make it to the memorial. And you know what the saddest thing is? I can’t even now remember why, which means it can’t have actually been that important. Instead I created an electronic file of the piece, with more sounds than just piano. I hope it worked ok. Emma told me later that after the funeral when she suddenly found herself alone, she just played it over and over again on repeat. 

So I guess it did its job, but now it’s ready to make its own way in the world in its original version for solo piano. I hope it can bring some solace to others in grief

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