"Alchemy" for horn, cello and piano by Canadian composer Elizabeth Knudson has been added the the IHS Online Music Sales.
Alchemy was conceived as a trio for horn, cello, and piano, in three movements. The three-part structure was inspired by the three stages of the medieval alchemical process-- attempting to turn base metals into gold, or the ‘elixir of life’: 1: corruption/dissolution, 2: purification (linked to the moon and femininity), and 3: enlightenment/sublimation (linked to the sun and masculinity). The horn introduces a short theme in the first movement, which is then transformed through seven variations-- seven being the number of metals involved in the alchemical process. The second movement is slow, sensuous, and lyrical, drawing inspiration from jazz tonalities, as well as from the delicate raindrop-like sound and polyrhythmic patterns of the kora (west African harp). The third movement brings the piece to a bright, rhythmically intense culmination.
Alchemy received its premiere, with Oliver de Clercq, horn, Ariel Barnes, cello, and Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, piano, at St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Vancouver, Canada, May 20, 2012.
This commission was funded in part by the Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Program of the International Horn Society.