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Of Moths and Moonlight : flute with piano

by Sally Greenaway (2023)

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The Australian Music Centre's catalogue does not include any recordings or sheet music of this work. This entry is for information purposes only.

It is listed in our catalogue because an event featuring a performance of this work was included in our calendar of Australian music. Details of this performance are listed below.

Work Overview

"There are only two things that pierce the human heart.

One is beauty.

The other is affliction"

Of Moths and Moonlight offers a poetic meditation on the experience of grief and loss.

Over many centuries moths have been a muse for artists, who often depict them as symbols of transformation, metamorphosis and the fleeting nature of life itself.

Moths are beautiful and delicate creatures whose iridescent wings are like precious jewels or diamonds glittering in the moonlight as they flutter across the night sky. Though they remain elusive by day, when darkness descends they emerge, guided by the moonlight for navigation, longing for a glowing light source for their aerial dances.

The opening pianissimo tremolo on the piano evokes the fragile fluttering of wings, while the flute sings tender whispers of the moth's journey, serving as a metaphor for the unpredictability of life's journey and the sense of loss and emptiness that accompanies the passing of a loved one.

As the piece unfolds, we are drawn into a complex and profound landscape, tinged with melancholy and evoking a deep sense of longing. But there are also moments of sublime beauty and ethereal lightness. As the piece nears its conclusion, it gradually becomes increasingly transcendent, bringing a sense of catharsis and release that transports the listener to a new place of understanding and enlightenment.

The brief and fragile life of an adult moth, whose contemplative companion is the moon resting among the stars, serves as a reminder of the intrinsic power of music to heal and transform our hearts and souls.

The piece was commissioned by the Bowral Autumn Music Festival 2023 and expertly premiered by Sally Walker (flute) and Vivian Choi Milton (piano).

Work Details

Year: 2023

Instrumentation: Flute, Piano

Duration: 7 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Dedication note: Dedicated to Sally Walker (flautist)

Commission note: The piece was commissioned by the Bowral Autumn Music Festival 2023

Performances of this work

28 Apr 2024: at Folk and Fantasy (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Anna Rutkowska-Schock, Ewa Kowalski.

2 Oct 2023: at Dancing in the Moonlight - flute and piano works (Sydney Opera House, Utzon Room). Featuring Ewa Kowalski, Anna Rutkowska-Schock.

24 Mar 23: featuring Sally Walker, Vivian Choi Milton.

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