Triptych (2009)

string octet (4 violins 2 violas, 2 celli)

17 min. 30 sec.

I. Frontispiece/The Garden
II. Earthly Delights
III. Hell

Triptych was inspired by one of the most well-known paintings ever made in that genre: The Garden of Earthly Delights, by Flemish master, Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516). The three movements of the piece correspond to the three panels of the painting (plus frontispiece). The piece evolves from the austere, uncertain beginnings of the world (Frontispiece), into the peaceful, but strange surroundings of the Garden. The middle movement is playful, sensual, and earthy (Earthly Delights); the last is relentless, mocking, and grotesque (Hell).

There is so much colour, symbolism and detail present in the painting; the music is simply a distillation of these ideas. The piece, like the painting, follows a sense of predestined trajectory. The opening material of the piece becomes a recurring motive throughout all three movements: from the very beginning, there is a sense of inevitability about where things are going.


Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre.