Candle Ice


For more information, and for scores and parts, please visit the Canadian Music Centre.

Title: Candle Ice
Year Completed: 2014
Duration: 10 mins
Instrumentation: Piano, Violin, Violoncello, electroacoustic track
Premiere: Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Gryphon Trio, August 6, 2014

Program Notes:

Candle Ice is a work evokes the final melting phase of the ice on Great Slave Lake, in Northern Canada. In the spring, the thick ice melts into long, interlocking shards which are commonly called candle ice. These crystalline shapes are pushed by the wind and waves to jostle against each other, creating beautiful masses of sound or delicate individual sound-events with a glassy or metallic timbre. The candle ice exists only briefly during the ice season, and eventually disintegrates and melts into lakewater. For this composition I have transformed observations and field recordings of candle ice in four ways:
1) Acoustic and aesthetic observations inform the activity of the music;
2) Transcriptions of the sounds create rhythmic and melodic motives;
3) Spectral analysis reveals further pitch material for harmonic organization; and
4) Physical structures of ice crystals are applied to the music’s formal design.

I believe that the ice formed in the North’s long winters is a quasi-biotic phenomenon, one that embodies a spiritual and ontological bridge between living and elemental forces. I believe the ice has a voice, and the sounds it produces in its natural state are an on-going, ecological form of music. My approach to the use of these sounds is a borrowing or re-performance of this music.

Candle Ice was written for the Gryphon Trio, and they premiered it at the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, August 6, 2014.