Band + Electronics (4.5 minutes)
Flute 1, 2
B♭ Clarinet 1, 2
B♭ Bass Clarinet
E♭ Alto Saxophone 1, 2
B♭ Tenor Saxophone
E♭ Baritone Saxophone
B♭ Trumpet 1, 2 (requires straight mute)
F Horn (requires straight mute)
Trombone 1, 2
Percussion 1 – Toms (3 drums), Cabasa
Percussion 2 – Snare Drum, Ratchet
Percussion 3 – Bass Drum, Vibraslap
Percussion 4 – Chimes, Xylophone, Glockenspiel
(note: percussionists are asked to improvise using various randomly selected instruments beyond those listed here)
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Growing up in rural Southern Indiana, I have always been fascinated and awestruck by fireflies. I distinctly remember the magic I felt as a kid watching flickering lights slowly emerge from the hayfields at dusk. When I was asked to write a piece that relied heavily on aleatory and student improvisation, I first set out to write a slow, wondrous, and reflective soundscape meant to portray fireflies filling up the night sky. But then… I decided that wasn’t enough.
After some basic research, I learned that there is a much darker side to fireflies than we usually think. As assumed, they use their flickering light patterns as a mating ritual, but there’s more to it than that. Not only do they emit toxic poison when attacked, they are also ferocious tricksters. Certain female sub-species of fireflies will mimic the pattern of smaller, weaker sub-species to lure in males as potential mates... then... instead... THEY EAT THEM! Morbid.
The idea for this piece is to set up a beautiful, serene landscape of improvisatory, flickering, bioluminescent music that quickly devolves into an evil, deceptive feast. After the villainous fireflies have gotten their fill, they descend back into the ground only for the cycle of new life and death to continue.
Thank you to the Indiana University Young Winds program for commissioning this piece. Enjoy!