Ross HARRIS (b. 1945)
As though there were no God (2003)
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra/James MacMillan
Recorded by Radio New Zealand Concert
11 March 2006
As though there were no God
As though there were no God was written in 2003 and takes its title from a line in a Scottish hymn which runs: “He hides himself so wondrously, as though there were no God.” Harris says his piece is a meditation on the statement in the light of recent events such as the US-led invasion of Iraq.
The work begins with a lively dance, played over a very slow version of the hymn in bassoons, horn and tuba, and develops into a series of wild dances and grotesque marches. A violin solo leads the string section of the orchestra in an attempt to restore calm and the slow middle section of the work offers an interlude before the almost unbridled violence of the final section. Ross Harris says it is his hope that the final quiet statement of the Scottish psalm retains some ambiguity about the question of religious faith.