Phoenix Rising (2020) by Stacy Garrop
for violin
West Coast premiere

Legends of the phoenix are found in stories from ancient Egypt and Greece. While each culture possesses a range of stories encompassing the phoenix myth, these tales tend to share similar traits: a sacred bird with brilliantly colored plumage and melodious call lives for typically five hundred years; then the bird dies in a nest of embers, only to be reborn among the flames. In Egyptian stories, the phoenix gathers scented wood and spices for its funeral/rebirth pyre, then collects the ashes from its earlier incarnation and flies them to the temple of the sun in Heliopolis to offer as a tribute to the sun god. In Greek myths, the phoenix was approximately the size of an eagle and was adorned with red and gold feathers; it would fly from either India or Arabia to Heliopolis to give its offering. The bird's association with immortality and resurrection are particularly intriguing aspects of these tales, giving numerous writers (including William Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling) a rich resource for their own stories.

Phoenix Rising consists of two movements. I. Dying in embers represents an old phoenix who is settling on top of a pile of embers and breathing its last breath; II. Reborn in flames depicts the newly born phoenix getting its first taste of flight. Phoenix Rising was commissioned by saxophonist Christopher Creviston. The composer has also made arrangements of the work for flute, clarinet, and violin.

— S. G.    

[program note for video premiered December 9, 2020]