This piece has been waiting quietly in the recesses of my mind for some time. At my desk I have a print of a painting I bought at the local markets from artist Kate Eagle. It depicts a fox dressed in a suit and a mermaid sitting together on a veranda having a serious conversation. Kate has hand-written in silver ink under the image: “Conversations about the impossible”. It’s very inspiring in a quirky, interesting way and struck me as the perfect subject for a work featuring Pierrot ensemble.

Cathy Applegate. Photograph supplied

I have been fascinated by Pierrot ensemble ever since I played piano in a work by American composer, Carolyn Yarnell, titled Lapis Lazuli. I researched Pierrot ensemble further; Arnold Schoenberg’s work, Pierrot Lunaire lends its name to the instrumentation and approach. Many such works are extremely virtuosic and need a conductor to help the performers keep track of the challenges, especially the meter changes.

When I compose, I often have certain performers in mind and imagine them playing my work. I have endeavoured to compose a work that is achievable,...