Composed for solo cello and chamber choir, Five Elements consist of five settings of poems by Gregory Warren Wilson. Inspired by the elements of the natural world, Earth, Air, Fire and Water, together with Time, The poems (written as a sequence of Haiku) are linked by the precarious beauty of Nature, subject as it now is to the toxic influences of heavy industry and, most recently, climate change. Each haiku focuses on a particular form of life that is peculiar to one of Earth’s elements – such as the leather-back turtle and the firefly.
The work has been recorded by cellist Justin Pearson, together with the Locrian Singers, conducted by Jonathan Darbourne. Movements from the work have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and NPO Klassiek in the Netherlands. The first movement of the work, ‘Willow’ can be heard below.