Up to Her Waist in Lupins

Up to her Waist in Lupins was commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in memory of Randi Nelson, their departed former principal flutist who served in that position for over forty years. I did not know Randi personally but she knew my music from performances by the SSO including “Departures”, my second flute concerto. Her reaction after that concert prompted Mark Turner, the CEO of the orchestra, to propose to me a ten-minute-long concerto-like composition dedicated to her. Mark’s request came with the title, which in turn came with a story. Terry Sturge, Randi’s husband, was a cellist with the orchestra. Terry’s first encounter of Randi was in 1986 in her garden. She was “up to her waist in lupins”. As it often happens with soulmates, he knew from the first moment that they were meant to be together.

Their story touched me deeply. Even though I had not met them before, I felt inexplicably connected to their story and, through it, to them. I entered their story as if they were both dear friends and I began to musically explore my own feelings feverishly and with frantic speed. The composition was completed in less than ten days. Like their story, the music has come from a place of aching familiarity and longing, a psychic state that connects people across time and space; like a quantum entanglement, uninhibited by the causal linearities of our everyday reality. I am grateful to Mark and Terry for their support and for the stories and photographs that they shared to help me enter the psychic space of this remarkable woman and the legacy she has left behind in her community. I emerged from the experience as if I had known Randi all my life and needed to send to her a musical farewell for her endless continuing journey across an endless universe.

—Christos Hatzis

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