The music component of The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness consists of a 50-minute work for large orchestra, choir and solo tenor composed by me with guest composition by Alf Demasi. It took two years to complete.
The idea for the Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness came from my own experiences of type one bipolar disorder, which I have suffered since childhood. I wished to create a narrative, in the form of a fable, that, through the combined art-forms of literature, visual art and music, gives audiences an aesthetic experience of a psychotic episode. Embedded within this is a metaphorical work that explores the cultural boundaries of difference, tolerance, acceptance, and belief systems.
In my creative work, I often think about my artworks in terms of music, and my music in terms of artworks. For me they are intrinsically linked.
Music has a way of bringing a deeper emotional experience to words and images, and for me is an essential part of my artistic practice. The music enhances and sometimes works paradoxically with text and images, creating a more visceral experience.
The music can be listened to whilst reading the book, or on its own. For a comprehensive understanding of the musical work please download the free music resource notes.
A cd of music is provided at the back of the book, but for those who do not have access to a CD player you are welcome to download the complete music as a digital download from the below link:
Below is a short video showing the recording of the music for The Tree of Ecstasy and Unbearable Sadness at the Besedni Dum in Brno, Czech Republic 2019. The music was performed by the Brno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Czech Philharmonic Choir of Brno conducted by Mikel Toms with solo tenor Ben Reynolds. Narration by Tina Wilson.
An excerpt from the Film is shown below.