The opening line of Dante’s remarkable epic poem refers not just to his own journey, but speaks unmistakably of our own life (nostra vita) as well. Have we lost our way, only to find ourselves wandering in a dark forest? There are many possible interpretations, but we can at least take solace in the knowledge that Dante and Virgil learned much during their travels in the underworld, and eventually emerged unscathed. So perhaps we need not abandon all hope after all.
2018 saw four performances of Dark Forest for viola solo, in Denmark (Aarhus and Copenhagen), Iceland (Reykjavik) and at Central Michigan University.
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita,
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
In the middle of our life’s journey,
I found myself in a dark forest,
For the main road was lost.
Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy Canto I, lines 1–3