Emily and Peter
Pfarrei Peter und Paul
Willisau, Switzerland


Phos was written for a joint protestant-catholic service during the Advent time of year, in a small Swiss town called Willisau.


I was asked to use light as the theme (Phos is the Greek word for light). On the evening of the service, there were 1000’s of candles lit outside, a fundraising project by the international charity organization Caritas.


Phos attempts to represent my personal meditations on light in a musical context. Light means warmth and security: a soft glowing firelight that takes away the cold on a winter’s night. A glow in the darkness is also a symbol of hope. The distant, twinkling stars in the sky, or the candle flickering inside a window are beacons, perhaps even vigils, for lost travelers. Light is also a symbol of enlightenment. It grows closer and brighter until we are flooded by a radiant illumination.


Phos works in both a church service and concert setting.



Programme Note:


Phos is a personal meditation on the idea of light. It was composed during an artist residency in Switzerland, for a special church s ervice that coincided with an outdoor installation involving thousands of candles on a valley slope and around the church steps of St. Peter and St. Paul, in the mediaeval town centre of Willisau.


I would also like to thank, with deep appreciation, Peter Unternährer, who generously gave the support and insight needed to make this project happen, and to everyone at the Stadtmuehle Willisau for their wonderful support during my three-month residency with them in Switzerland.





Composing a piece, Emily Hall has what I'd call a musical vision.  … What struck me … is the way Hall pursues an idea, the directness that eventually leads to a musical form in which nothing can be altered without a loss of substance. This shows real talent and a deep insight into the functioning of music.

-Peter Unternährer, organist


Canadian Composer Emily Hall / Compositeur canadienne Emily Hall

                                                    Email / Courriel: Emily Hall

Emily and Peter

Pfarrkirche St. Peter und Paul

Willisau, Switzerland