Within Her Arms is music for my mother, with all my love.
Earth will keep you tight within her arms dear one—
So that tomorrow you will be transformed into flowers—
This flower smiling quietly in this morning field—
This morning you will weep no more dear one—
For we have gone through too deep a night.
This morning, yes, this morning, I kneel down on the green grass—
And I notice your presence.
Flowers, that speak to me in silence.
The message of love and understanding has indeed come.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
(From "Message" in Call Me By My True Names, 1999, with permission of Parallax Press)
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.
"…a fragile elegy for fifteen strings; intertwining voices of lament bring to mind English Renaissance masterpieces of Thomas Tallis and John Dowland, although the music occasionally breaks down into spells of static grief, with violins issuing broken cries over shuddering double-bass drones."
—The New Yorker
"Within Her Arms is a powerful work, a somber, deeply felt meditation on loss. Crafted with real mastery for strings, Clyne’s work never descends to the sentimental or lachrymose, the music working its way through desolation and painful stabbing violin accents to a sense of hard-won solace and peace … This is one of the English composer’s most personal and finest efforts to date, and one could easily see this powerful elegy entering the regular string repertoire."
—Chicago Classical Review
"…the most affecting moments came when the ensemble reduced down to a small string orchestra to perform Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms … this work exerted an emotional pull from its opening gestures that steadily intensified through an exquisite performance … this writing felt vital and new, both mournful and filled with life. As an elegiac work for strings, Within Her Arms brought to mind Barber’s Adagio at times, and it shares with that piece a perfectly sculpted tension, a somber beauty, and an inner radiance."
—San Francisco Classical Voice
“Written as an ode to the composer’s mother, the piece is a meditation on loss, love and life. Part of its beauty is found in the spaces created by the interweaving strings. This was a sensitive and graceful performance of what is?a truly beautiful piece of music.”
—The Arts Desk
“The work grows organically out of a four-note motif introduced in a violin solo, and carries the listener through poignant and heartfelt emotional landscapes.”
—Washington Classical Review