Children of Light
For flute or piccolo, clarinet and bassoon
For the C part, piccolo is preferred. This five movement work starts with “At the Beginning”, followed by “Maia”, a dancelike movement, then “Aura”, then followed by “Nebula”, a very energetic movement, and finishing with “In the End”
From the composer:
“Children of Light” is a trio for flute, clarinet and bassoon reflecting the life cycle of stars. The music stems from a planetarium show called Star Stuff I composed for the Cincinnati planetarium some years ago. I associate it most closely with the Carina Nebula, NGC 3372, a stellar incubator. The accompanying composite Hubble image shows “star birth in a new level of detail. The fantasy-like landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. In the process, these stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born.” I think it is a great picture.
The five movements present three tableaux and two short bookends. The tableau titles are intentionally somewhat amorphous. While they refer to both technical and mystical subjects, the music makes only general attempts at depicting specific events or ideas. The titles are reflective of what was in my mind as I wrote the music. At the Beginning and In the End, the first and last movements, unify the musical structure by echoing themes from the more substantial movements as well as emphasizing the cyclical nature of the universe.
Maia, a dance movement, refers to the eldest of the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology (i.e. the Pleiades). Our words May and Maja relate to this name. For Hindus, the word means the intense desire that masks reason and leads to destruction. The name refers also to the star 20 Tauri, which for some years was considered to be a prototypical ‘short-term variable.’ Stars in the Pleiades, a young cluster, are still embedded in the gas and dust of their birth nebulae.
Aura refers simply to the cloud of light surrounding many stellar events as well as living beings; the movement is a series of variations on a luminous and arching theme.
Nebula is a ritornello-like movement whose varied episodes end with a common theme. The term refers to “an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen gas, helium gas and plasma.” Various types of nebulae are associated with both the formation and the dissolution of stars.