Program Notes for FireFlower These piano solos were composed as a personal tonal record, similar to a diary. They were private expressions, like the pages of one's journal, of a greater process of personal healing. Now I present them as a "tone diary" with the hope that they may touch the listener in an intimate way. I. A Mother's Window is a collection of three pieces that have specific connections with each of my three sons. 1. Variations Toward a Theme (1981) was written while pregnant with my second son, Shad Mosher. Of all my pieces, this one sounds closer to early classical styles than the others. Shad, now a Marine Biologist and talented musician, is drawn to the Baroque and early classical era. 2. Silent Distance (1979) was written for my first son, Todd Murchison, when he was five years old. While on a trip with relatives, he got so homesick that his grandmother, Jean, brought him back early. Missing him as well, I was unable to sleep one night and wrote this. Upon return, I played it back for him and we cried together with the memories of that separation. Now a computer engineer and artist, he has talent for depicting his feelings through art and writing. 3. Crying Out (1982) was written while pregnant with my third son, Trannon Mosher. Although the themes came from the initial frustration at having to stop composing, the energy of the piece became a celebratory "breaking through" of that fear, and ultimately, a triumph. Trannon is now an aeronautical engineer and an energetic dancer. This piece reminds me of his style of choreography. II.Halfsight (1986) was inspired by the following e. e. cummings' poem. Because my life resembled the opening lines of this poem, the piece contains only the longings for the wisdom of the remaining lines: all worlds have halfsight, seeing either with life's eye (which is if things seem spirits) or (if spirits in the guise of things appear) death's: any world must always half perceive. Only whose vision can create the whole (being forever born a foolishwise proudhumble citizen of ecstasies more steep than climb can time with all his years) he's free into the beauty of the truth; and strolls the axis of the universe ---love. Each believing world denies, whereas your lover (looking through both life and death) timelessly celebrates the merciful wonder no world deny may or believe III. The Journey (1988) unfolded during a series of meditations. I had written all four before I realized that they were a set representing the four elements of air, earth, water, and fire. 1. Meadow Light came from the image and feeling of light beams through the woods, hovering upon the air over a field of grass and wildflowers. 2. Kiakra Cave represents the mysterious light of kiakra (a bioluminescent fungi sometimes found on damp wood on the forest floor at night) imagined within the complete cave darkness of mother earth. 3. Thru Water represents the ebbing/ flowing, rising/falling of water's continuous healing dance. 4. FireFlower represents the powerful burning and transformative powers of fire, as well as the courage it takes to allow it to do it's work in one's life. Once all that can burn is cleared, that which is left at the very center is one's core ... something of simple beauty, and as open as a flower. IV. Modal Character Sketches (1996-97) is a collection of short pieces based on the seven medieval scale modes, Ionian through Locrian. I was inspired by a conversation with my friend, Julie Harris, as she daydreamed of writing short pieces on each mode. We picked a common focal tone (G), giving us the potential to combine our sets collaboratively into a larger work in the future. Individual characters, from shadows and plants to people and feelings, arose within the modes of these sketches. 1. Fallen Majesty (Ionian) emerged from Hurricane Fran's fallen trees. The initial feeling of loss, once cleared, turned to hearing the voice of the tree spirits. 2. Dorian Dream (Dorian) floated from the wispy/lazy dream that began this project. 3. Gentle Grief (Phrygian) resulted from a phone call with my mother, Rose, after chemotherapy treatment for her cancer. The feeling was one of a gentle grief that falls lightly like a healing rain upon the earth. 4. Come Play (Lydian) skipped and ran with the innocent feeling of playfulness and the invitation to join in the fun. 5. Front Porch Rocker (Mixolydian) became the character of an elder woman with her memories, rocking back and forth. 6. Water Aura (Aeolian) arose from my observation of a watered plant. It's aura expanded, as happens with all life when nourished. 7. March of the Shadows (Locrian) arose from the natural dissonance of this mode that was banned in Baroque times due to it's Tonic/Dominant tritone. These shadows (feelings we try to ignore) are honored for their potential gift-bearing by parading them into the light. V. Sonata in e minor (Toward Connection) (1980) chronicles a journey through pain towards healing. The music was written from the memories of my personal experiences. I wrote the poem below to accompany it's premier in 1986: Toward Connection We yearn toward wholeness but grow into a disconnected world, parent/child earth/people spirit/soul all connection self, nature, humanity suffocating. Can the inner will of youth survive? Soon our world must be felt, we reach out but cannot touch, it pulls against the will to stay sane. We forget our earth we forget each other and ourselves, now the pain of new mistakes upon the old is no longer bearable, we give in to numbness. Out of touch we refuse to look at the nightmare we've created and fear fills the empty spaces each alone in hell! Awake! Our will toward peace toward connection.