Nostalgia – Jocelyn Morlock

When was it composed?
The piece was originally written in 2007 however today’s performance will be Jocelyn Morlock’s 2012 revision.

When was it premiered?
The revised work was premiered by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra conducted by Scott Yoo on November 21, 2012.

What instruments does Jocelyn Morlock use?
String orchestra – Violins I & II, Viola, Cello, Bass.

How long does the piece last?
Approximately 15 minutes

Where did she find the inspiration for the piece?
Morlock quotes two passages from books by Milan Kundera and a piece by a classical giant as her inspiration:
“In the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia.” – The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984.

“You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more.” – Ignorance, 1998.

Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1027 – Adagio – J. S. Bach

Does she have anything to say about the piece itself?
My starting point for this piece was the Adagio of Bach’s Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord, BWV 1027, a piece which for me is replete with nostalgia and past associations. The opening melody has a sweet sadness that I find irresistible. While I used some fragments of the Bach for my own musical purposes throughout Nostalgia, the referencing is only audible in the coda. Rather than building a piece on Bach’s music, my intent was to refer to the many emotions I feel when listening to the Adagio, to create a rumination upon this seductive but surreal world of memory. Aside from the undoubted delights of glimpsing the past through a sentimental haze, nostalgia also has some darker facets; engaging in an obsessive love for the past makes it easy to lose sight of the present, and nothing appears quite as wonderful as that which is forever lost.

Can I hear an excerpt of the piece?
A brief excerpt of Nostalgia can be heard at SoundCloud:

Jocelyn Morlock

Much of Jocelyn’s music is inspired by birds, insomnia, nature, fear, nocturnal wandering thoughts, lucid dreaming, or a peculiar combination thereof. – from the introduction on her website.

  • Since Velcro Lizards, her first composition in 1996 Jocelyn Morlock has gone on to create an impressive body of work in a wide range of genres including film scores, choral pieces, solo, ensemble and orchestral scores.
  • In 2011 her vocal work Exaudi was nominated for a Juno and in 2018 she won for My Name Is Amanda Todd, a commission by the NAC Orchestra as part of multi-media Life Reflected
  • Morlock’s international career was launched at the 1999 International Society for Contemporary Music’s World Music Days with Romanian performances of her quartet Bird in the Tangled Sky.

Her website tells us that we can access her “boring-to-read yet impressive bio, in case such facts are necessary for anyone to listen to music” at


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