(AFCM webmaster’s note: the composer’s website includes a section entitled “They hate me. They really hate me”. To those critics we have only this to say: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!” To the composer: “Vive les Irlandais!”)
Performances: My piece has not been made available to anyone else. I have allowed the Borealis Quartet exclusivity since the premiere.They have played it on various tours in the past 2 years –notably in China and the U.S.
Published: (12/7/09) “No. We’re at a disadvantage in Canada, not being represented by major publishing houses. When I’m sure about the piece, I can offer it to either of my two publishers (in Germany and Canada), or make it available for hire or purchase through the Canadian Music Centre.”
CD: No. Again, funding is a problem in Canada. Recording projects really need to be proposed by the performers, not the composers.
The composer describes her 2007 quartet: “The initial inspiration for ‘Ashes’ was elements of fire — friction, spark, flame, burn, combustion — and the parallel to our lives. I was intrigued by little facts, such as a firestorm can burn with such intensity that it creates and sustains its own wind system. The imagery gives way to something of great intensity and turbulence. Occasionally though, there drift into the air small, delicate particles that ride the heat waves and wind system. It was easy to draw a parallel between this and life. Life has its own tempo, and although it often seems to pass in the blink of an eye, there are moments of repose and moments to reflect.
“The quartet has a single movement. The introductory material is like the spark of a flint. It takes a few tries before the fire ignites. Once started, the music is propulsive and energetic. The piece relies on virtuosic ensemble playing, but there are moments when a single voice is heard prominently, both in the fast music and the slow. The title is taken from Leonard Cohen, who said: ‘Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.’”
Sponsored by: Hal Myers, in memory of Gene Loring