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Waxcap

September 9, 2014

Having always had a penchant for the sinister, I was immediately attracted to the subject matter for my TRANSPLANTED miniature. Fungi have a certain reputation (largely undeserved) as belonging to the dark side of nature: they grow in shady, damp locations away from view; they are often associated with disease and decay; they can sometimes be highly poisonous. In composing my piece I enjoyed exploring these murky associations, perhaps using the Waxcap (whose varieties are generally quite benign) as an example of how our negative preconception of things can preclude a full appreciation of their actual beauty and value. Throughout the music there is a deliberate probing of what we traditionally find aurally palatable and what jars: gently dovetailing, consonant lines between the two instruments are gradually infused with spicy peppercorns of dissonance; long, meandering phrases search vainly for a reassuring sense of closure. Ultimately the contrasting sonorities and textures are allowed to entwine and spread together in joyful, liberated union - but their ecstasy is short-lived, and a desperate, closing cyclical motif signals the serenity of autumn giving way to the savagery of winter.

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