Riflesso sull'acqua
for English horn & orchestra (2007 - revision: 2010)
15 minutes – no.41

Riflesso sull'acqua ('sheen on the water') is part of the Riflessi series, which consists exclusively of companion pieces: each Riflesso explores the same exceptional scoring of a classic from the last century.

Riflesso sull'acqua is a companion piece for The Swan of Tuonela (1893), in which Jean Sibelius depicts the transcendental image of a mystical swan, swimming around the island of the dead. It makes use of the exact same instrumental combination: English horn accompanied by a symphony orchestra that lacks flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and tuba. The reduced woodwind section consists merely of one bass clarinet, two bassoons, and a single oboe whose subtle role it is to “amplify” the soloist. The string orchestra is heavily subdivided.

Like The Swan, the English horn has a distinct solo part, yet Riflesso sull'acqua is anything but a concerto. The characteristic melancholic sound of the solo instrument comes from within the orchestra, and travels slowly behind the strings, from right to left, as if it were a celestial body tracing out... >>>

 

photo: Icy Prospects #39 by Jorma Puranen
(reproduced with permission)