Having an avid interest in all varieties of arcane weaving of the Middle East I recently viewed the stunning examples of early Coptic textiles on permanent display at the Louvre. What struck me about these fragments of coloured cloth was how they conveyed an essential atmosphere of their civilisation. Transferring this thought to another realm, I asked myself what aspects of the music since Monteverdi might determine its atmosphere, if heard 2000 years from now. For me the analogy would be one of the instrumental imagery of Western music. These were some of the metaphors that occupied my thoughts while composing Coptic Light. An important technical aspect of the composition was prompted by Sibelius’ observation that the orchestra differed mainly from the piano in that it has no pedal. With this in mind, I set to work to create an orchestral pedal, continually varying in nuance. This “chiaroscuro” is both the compositional and the instrumental focus of Coptic Light.