Instrumentation Violin, violoncello, and piano

Timing ca. 12’10”

Composed 2021

Commmissioned by Jennifer Taylor for the Gryphon Trio

World Premiere December 9, 2021, Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Toronto, Ontario. Gryphon Trio.

Programme Notes

The original Chimera from Greek mythology was a fire-breathing hybrid of lion, goat, and serpent. Over time, “chimera” came to describe any creature, mythical or real, comprised of multiple DNAs. The Sphinx, the Manticore, the Kotobuki, Anubis, Ganesha, and of course the Gryphon are all examples of chimeras (as are most marmosets and more than a few humans). When I began looking for inspiration for a new work for trio—three individual voices that merge into a single entity—the three-part Chimera was the perfect choice.

Three different musical ideas form Chimera‘s DNA. The mass and strength of the lion are represented by dense chords that become internally activated and rhythmically pulsed. The mountain goat, high and distant, appears as still sustained tones. The serpent provides the long sinuous lines that weave through the texture. These three elements are overlapped, juxtaposed, and intertwined, passing amongst the players and transformed along the way.

In a single movement, Chimera begins very slowly, as if shrouded in mist (Diaphonous). As the piece unfolds, the music gradually becomes faster and more focussed, moving through Mysterious, Stealthy, Restless, and Racing, until the final section (Determined) explodes in fire.

Chimera was commissioned by Jennifer Taylor for the Gryphon Trio in celebration of Music TORONTO’s 50th anniversary.

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