labyrinth of flames

Maureen Hurd, cl, Curtis Macomber, vln, Blair McMillen, pno


“…labyrinth of flames…”¬†was originally composed for Eb Alto Saxophone, Piano, and Violin. Its premiere in its version for Bb Clarinet, Piano, and Violin WAS at the “June in Buffalo” conference at the State University of New York, Buffalo. The clarinet version makes only minor changes to the saxophone part. The work, conceived as a musical poem, is in three sections. The opening, “…labyrinth of flames…,” is a fiery introduction, during which many arrow-straight gestures eventually become distorted until a sense of regular pulse (as heard) is defeated, after many a valiant effort. Following a definite break, the second section, “Mazemarch,” begins. The piano provides an irregularly-phrased quasi-deathmarch, moving from its center register to its depths, creating a chord progression out of one “hyper-chord” that will eventually end the work. The violin plays an ever-yearning melody while the saxophone supplies more animated commentary. After a moment of religioso repose, the third section, “Mist, dust, eddies, swirls,” eases in in the form of non-rhythmic chatter in the piano and saxophone. This crystalline world of quiet, seemingly randomly placed sounds (as heard) offers a final sanctuary, a Garden of Eden, to the fire and brimstone of before. The closing measures recall the once-ferocious trills of the introduction above the piano’s once-fearsome chord.


Violin, B-flat Clarinet (opt. Alto Sax) and Piano