Clarice Assad

(2024) Flight of the Fairies

For Flute, Violoncello and Piano

Titled “Flight of the Fairies,” this piano, flute, and violoncello work explores vivid timbral illusions and mythical imagery through tonal music and avant-gard extended techniques. The instruments’ capabilities for producing bell tones, metallic resonances, microtones, and timbres beyond tradition dovetailed with the fairy realm’s enchanted atmosphere.

This piece depicts fairies as magical beings linked to nature, such as ethereal forest nymphs who bridge life and death in eternal seasonal rhythms. Their liminal status between reality and fantasy imbues fairies with a mythic draw. Psychologically, fairies are archetypes children encounter in play, and their tricks show imagination’s power to unlock hidden wonder behind mundane experiences. Thus, fairies offer an epistemological threshold – neither fully real nor fantastical- and urge questioning the bounds of rational perception.

By channeling the whimsical character of the fairy folk, my greatest wish as a composer was to establish a connection between the instruments in a storytelling context. Shimmering textures, microtones, multi-phonics, scraping sounds, and other vivid sonorities foreground the instruments’ extensive capabilities beyond traditional technique, embracing energetic rhythmic motifs that prominently evoke a sense of flight. The tones come in and out of focus, frequently embracing two or more simultaneous tonalities to create an ambiguous harmonic atmosphere rife with magical possibilities.

 

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