December 31, 2018

Why is appreciating overlooked details in nature, like lichen, important?

Lisa Robertson


My string quartet piece, Lichen, explores the importance of recognising small, often overlooked, details in nature.

Lichen is a very sensitive indicator of air pollution, and cannot survive in air which is not pure. Remote areas, where the air is pure, are still at risk of losing their abundance of lichen due to the increase of acid rain which can spread far beyond the source of the pollution. This is surely a very frightening warning sign.

Each movement in the piece takes inspiration from a different Scottish traditional folk music form. Throughout the history of Scottish folk culture, there has been a deep sense of reverence for nature. In modern times this connection has been somewhat lost to the extent that we are now destroying the natural world. The dwindling abundance of lichen is proof of this. We are still people of the same species. We still live in the same place. The soul of our music still exists. But without the sense of connection with the natural world, the essence of the music has been distorted.

I feel that lichen, with its intricate beauty and urgent environmental warning is not something which should be overlooked.

Lichen, a piece for string quartet.
Duration: 16’30”