Laurence Osborn

  • Duration

    10 mins

  • Year of composition


  • Number of performers


  • First performance

    London Symphony Orchestra, LSO St Luke's

  • Commissioned by
    LSO Soundhub


The Blue Lias is a geologic formation found on the coastline of Southern England, which consists of layers of shale and limestone dating back to the Triassic and Jurassic periods. It is particularly rich in fossilized flora and fauna.

Lias is inspired by my experiences looking for fossils in the Blue Lias cliffs of Lyme Regis in the Summer of 2014, and, in particular, a walk that I took along The Undercliff pathway between Lyme Regis and Axmouth during my stay there. The pathway is a tunnel of trees and enormous plants, so densely enmeshed with one another that it is almost impossible to see the sky. Everywhere you look, you can see countless tendrils of vegetation coiling around and over one another, before spiraling up towards the light. The environment has a dreamlike or hallucinatory feel about it, but the roughness of the terrain, the sticky humidity, and the pungent smell of vegetation act as a constant reminder that this is an environment of pure, unabated “living”, for want of a better word. I was moved by the thought that the roots of this tangle of vegetation lay in rocks themselves composed of a jungle of similar organic matter dating from over 150 million years ago.

Full Scoring:

Clarinet doubling Bass Clarinet
Horn (in F)
2 Violins
Double Bass

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