Lann, Vanessa

Vanessa Lann was born on April 6, 1968 in New York. Education: Vanessa Lann has been a composer and pianist since the age of five. She studied composition with Ruth Schonthal ...

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Resurrecting Persephone : for flute and chamber orchestra, 1999, revision 2000 / Vanessa Lann

Publisher: Amsterdam: Donemus, 2000
Publisher's number: 10147
Genre: Orchestra
Subgenre: Flute and orchestra
Scoring: fl fl(pic) ob eh 2cl fg cfg 2h 2trp 2trb tb 2perc hp pf str( fl-solo
Remarks: Op initiatief van de AVRO Radio geschreven voor Eleonore Pameijer en het Radio Kamerorkest. - Met financiële steun van het Fonds voor de Scheppende Toonkunst. - Cop. 1999. - Tijdsduur: 25'05''
Duration: 25'05"
Year of composition: 1999
Status: fully digitized (real-time delivery)

Temple of the mind
Fruit of the body
Play of the spirit
Program note (English): Resurrecting Persephone is based on a Greek myth. The ritual of Persephone's emergence from the underworld every spring has formed the basis for sacred worship and mysterious ceremonies throughout history. The playing of a flute, accompanied by a drum, has often symbolized the calling to Persephone by Demeter, or the searching by Persephone for her own true identity. The myth has also represented the necessity of each person to experience cyclical periods of darkness and light in life. Resurrecting Persephone is not a flute concerto in the traditional sense, where the soloist plays a virtuoso part which is then reiterated by the ensemble. The piece is about the inner world of a person, expressed by the intimate sound possibilities of the flute. It shows the process of one person, against a group of others, developing an individual voice. Sometimes it seems as though the flute is not the main character at all, because other instruments play more melodious or prominent material.
However, the flutist/Persephone is consistently of central importance; this often quiet presence is the thread that holds the work together. In the first part Temple of the Mind the soloist begins by humming into the flute on repeated notes in the lowest register. The notes gradually rise and form a slow, subtle melody which is echoed by the other instruments. Through the humming, as well as the use of harmonics, the flute takes on a fragile quality. This otherworldly atmosphere is emphasized by humming in other instruments, harmonics in the strings and the high resonance of glockenspiel, triangle and finger cymbals. Eventually, the flute reaches its highest register on insistent, solid tones; after this brief climax it returns to the questioning, mysterious quality of quiet harmonics and whistle tones. In Fruit of the Body the flute and the percussion provide the physical sense of touch. The soloist explores extended techniques, such as slapping the metal keys, clicking with the
tongue or allowing only air to be blown through the instrument. The flute is amplified, creating a surround sound effect. Ironically, this gives the listener an intimate, almost tangible experience of what is occurring inside the flute. Fragments of melody are presented in this movement by the brass and other orchestral forces. The flute takes these fragments and begins to explore them expressively, yet stops before allowing a long line to blossom. In Play of the Spirit a series of low-pitched, pulsating notes becomes more and more active, rhythmically and melodically. The flute rises higher and higher, and the soloist emerges with lyrical, powerful energy. This culminates in an aggressive pattern of repeated notes where the soloist finally breaks through the sound mass of the other players. The cadenza to follow is the opportunity for the soloist to finally demonstrate the essence of Persephone - the multifaceted identity of the character. It is the one place where the flautist has a
chance to be an interpreter, in the traditional sense. Memory uses harmonics and a gradual lowering of pitch to bring the soloist back to the inner world from which she came. Fragments of melody and instrumental techniques from earlier sections provide a sense of return to the underworld, or to the otherworldly soundscape, where the piece began. The piece employs a somewhat cyclical form; as in the beginning, the flute becomes almost inaudible while repeated notes in the percussion and piano continue to ring as the piece ends. - VANESSA LANN

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