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According to the Wikipedia definition of Psychedelia, ‘Psychedelic states are an array of experiences including changes of perception such as hallucinations, synesthesia, altered states of awareness or focused consciousness, variation in thought patterns, trance or hypnotic states, mystical states, and other mind alterations.’
These experiences might seem farfetched without the aid of some kind of mind-altering substance, but this heady and colourful description highlights many of the possibilities available to us in music if only our minds are open it. The possibility to enter an abstract world where there are more questions than answers and individual experience and perception is everything. For me, music’s ability to take us outside of ourselves is perhaps it’s most appealing quality, the possibility to reach a euphoric, hypnotic and all-consuming state where perhaps just for a moment nothing else matters; this is my ideal.
Psychedelia is an optimistic work, beginning with a simple solo open violin string and slowly and deliberately moving forward on a single-minded path, eventually bringing the whole orchestra with it and losing itself in a sea of rotating pulses and patterns. Perhaps this is a metaphor for coming together in a time of cultural and political turmoil, or perhaps it’s just music.
Psychedelia was commissioned by RTE for the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland conducted by Thomas Ades. It is dedicated to all those close to me, especially Mum, Dad, Dominic and Xenia.
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