Voices of Time: A Portrait of Lake Moraine

Year Composed: 2002 (revised 2007)
Instrumentation: perc/hp/strings
Duration 6 minutes

Audio Excerpts (MP3)

Program Notes

Voices of Time: A Portrait of Lake Moraine is a musical meditation on one of Canada’s most exquisite natural treasures. Its striking, deep-coloured hues and vibrant recesses directly inspired the aural palette for this piece. I wanted, however, to develop a dramatic musical arc that would transcend the bounds of a purely impressionistic portrait. In order to reconcile this aim with the depiction of an inanimate, static locale, I envisioned a journey through time in which Lake Moraine, a geological entity, was the unusual, sole participant.

The piece is divided into three sections: Dawn, Afternoon, and Dusk. Each section, though overtly based on the shifting visual timbres of Lake Moraine as it passes through the day, also serves as a metaphor for various stages of a life cycle—birth, youth, and death—a cycle which governs all things, even when they span vast stretches of geological time. The third section, “Dusk”, contains within it a cataclysm which symbolizes the inevitability of death over time, and the terror of facing what lies beyond. The crisis passes, however, and is transcended in a moment inspired by the simple beauty of a resplendent sun setting over Lake Moraine.


  • May 25, 2002 - Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Reason; Hamilton Place, Hamilton
  • February 15, 2007 - University of Toronto Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Raffi Armenian (reading only)
  • December 17, 2007 - Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra, conducted by Alain Trudel. MacMillan Theatre, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto
  • February 10, 2017 - Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Marc David. Arts & Culture Centre, St. John's.
  • March 11, 2017 - Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gemma New. Hamilton Place, Hamilton

Commissions and Awards

  • winner of the First Annual Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra Young Composers' Competition, 2002


  • "This was [Lau's] first orchestral work, uncharacteristically melodic and consonant for Academic New Music and, very impressive." - David S. Fawcett, davidsfawcett.blogspot.ca

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