Cait Nishimura Music · HIRAETH - Cait Nishimura x Carter Vernon
  • Baritone saxophone* and piano
  • Duration: ~6:30
  • Composed in 2020
  • View a perusal score: bari sax / euphonium
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Hiraeth is a Welsh word without an exact English translation; my understanding is that the word is used to describe a combination of homesickness, wistfulness, and nostalgia, particularly when referring to a place or time that one simply cannot return to.

This piece was commissioned at the start of the COVID-19 global pandemic. During this time, life as we knew it stopped abruptly; musicians could no longer perform or even rehearse together as usual, and as of September 2020, it is still unclear as to when it will be safe to do so again. Reflecting on this situation prompts some complex emotions. We all miss aspects of what life was like pre-pandemic, but perhaps there are some aspects of our former lives that we are healthier to have left behind. Regardless, going back to the way things used to be is an impossible scenario, and this set of feelings is what inspired this piece.

While working on this project, I moved to a new home in a new city. This move was a positive change, and offered a substantial improvement in personal health and well-being, but it also meant leaving a city I called home for eleven years. In this city, I made lifelong friends, launched my career, and both found and shed several versions of myself. I grew to tolerate the overabundance of concrete and urban noise, and I found solace in the magical green spaces the city weaves between. Hiraeth is a musical exploration of my experience saying goodbye to Toronto.

This work was commissioned and premiered by Carter Vernon (who was born in Toronto!) at Purdue University, Fort Wayne, Indiana.

At Cait Nishimura Music, we care about protecting the planet we call home. Five dollars from every purchase of this piece will be donated to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Thank you for helping us support this initiative. To learn more, visit: https://www.natureconservancy.ca/ 

*This piece has now been arranged for several different solo instruments with piano. Check out the available options here.