Ensamble, Música contemporánea, Penn State 2020 International Call for Scores
Firefly Elegy uses a 12-note melodic theme, which through the course of the piece undergoes a series of transformations - mirroring the metamorphosis that takes place over a firefly's brief life span. The piece comprises four sections that reflect the four life stages of the firefly. During the motionless egg stage, some types of fireflies glow dimly; the opening section of the piece (following a short fanfare of flashing-light) is likewise static and calm, while at the same time features an internal motion hinting at subdued energy. The following groovy section is at times aggressive, not unlike the firefly during its larva stage, when it is hunting and digesting insects using special enzymes. The firefly hibernates through the pupa stage - reflected in the third section of the piece by seemingly everlasting sustained chords in the strings. Like a flash of light, each new phrase begins with an ascending scale, while the harp provides groups of repeated notes, recalling the synchronized flashes that are found in groups of tropical fireflies. Firefly Elegy ends with an elegy in which the now mature firefly looks back at its life. It has gone through such an extensive journey but only long enough to mate and lay eggs, sometimes without feeding during its adult stage. In the summertime, I often watch the firefly in his lonely flutter, flashing about and looking for a mate so he can complete the sole purpose of his short life before dying away. He must sometimes look back and wonder: was it all worth it?