The pitches for murmuring are drawn from Anne Carson’s The Anthropology of Water in which she tells her journey walking the Camino in “An Essay on the Road to Compostela.” I painted over much of her text, leaving only the letters that corresponded with the musical alphabet (d, h, e, g, a, etc.) In this way a melody emerged like a parallel pathway as I set out to traverse her 70 pages of writing on the experience. This melody forms the basis of my quartet.
In September 2013, I travelled to Spain to walk 200 kilometres of the Way of St. James— from the small town of Camponaraya to Santiago de Compostela. This is the famous pilgrimage to the cathedral of St. James in Galicia in north-westernmost Spain, where it is said that the remains of the apostle are laid to rest. One of the most significant Christian pilgrimages since medieval times, hundreds of thousands of people still walk the Camino de Santiago every year. Although historically steeped in Christian tradition, many who travel the well-worn pathways today do so less in the spirit ofreligion, and more as a personal contemplative experience— to find peace, allow time for reflection, create challenge, and connect with the spirit of history. These were some of my reasons for going.