Axis Mundi (2004) by Cindy Cox
for amplified flute, clarinet, violin, cello,
piano, percussion, electronics
Earplay/Fromm commission

My new composition for the Earplay Ensemble began with an image of the night sky. To indigenous peoples around the earth, stellar constellations revolving in complex cycles were understood as a kind of "memory theater" and appear in stories involving every part of their lives. My piece draws on their metaphor of the bright sky whirling and turning in space. All of my recent work deals with issues of musical resonance; this piece uses amplification to heighten it. The piano part is a sort of scaffolding underpinning much of the music, and the percussion plays mostly drums and resonating cymbals and tam-tams. Solos for the flute, violin, cello, and bass clarinet are processed using a long reverberation.

This composition was written for the Earplay Ensemble and made possible by a grant from the Fromm Foundation at Harvard.

— C. C.    

[from program for March 14, 2005 concert]