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Flame (2013)
for prepared guitar, bass flute and violoncello
Duration: 9’

SMMP No. 122

Premiere: soundON Festival of Modern Music, La Jolla Athenaeum, January 11, 2014.
Colin McAllister, guitar, Lisa Cella, Flute and Franklin Cox, Cello.

    "an evanescent soundscape..."
                                                     -Ken Herman, San Diego Story, January 14, 2014

Flame is dedicated to the guitarist Colin McAllister. It is a character piece in which the guitar is placed in an uncomfortable center between the volatile, imbalanced bass flute and the spectral, yet stately ‘cello. The guitar’s preparation inhibits its natural resonance, indicating that its initial association with the flute is somewhat unnatural. Only when it removes the preparation is it allowed to sound fully as it was intended, but this does not come without a price.

Though archetypal, the characters are loosely drawn from Virgil’s Aeneid, with particular attention to Book IV. By chain of reference, the piece borrows from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (1689) with a loose quotation of the ground bass from Song 34 (“When I am laid in Earth may my wrong create no trouble in thy breast”).