‘Towards Reconciliation’ is a piece for violin and orchestra and is dedicated to the late Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who passed away at the age of 90 in December 2021. The piece is in three movements and reflects aspects of the Archbishop’s life that lead to him representing truth and reconciliation, not only in South Africa, but across the world.
The first movement, titled ‘Combatting Injustice’, contains three main themes: the first is ‘furious’ as it deplores the injustice of apartheid in South Africa; the second is marked ‘dolce’ (sweetly) and more reflective in mood and the third is a theme that is used in different forms in all three movements which I refer to as the ‘Theme of Reconciliation’.
A cadenza for the solo violin leads the music into the second movement, titled ‘Hymn of Compassion’. Archbishop Tutu was full of compassion towards citizens of all races. In three sections, the first is a dense choral for brass with delicate violin phrases answering each phrase of the choral. The second is prayerful and reflects how the Archbishop was so often found in solitary prayer. The third is a variation on the Theme of Reconciliation bringing the movement to a close.
The third movement is titled ‘Truth and Reconciliation – A Legacy’. Two fast themes represent different aspects of the Archbishop’s character; the first representing his strength of character and the second his playful sense of humour. There follows another variation of the Theme of Reconciliation, mainly quiet. The two first themes are then varied, followed by a final, joyful variant of the Theme of Reconciliation. This is the only time the full orchestra is used throughout this piece.
‘Towards Reconciliation’ was written between January and March 2022 and is around 16.5 minutes long.