violin, cello and piano

Commission: Gryphon Trio with funding from the Ontario Arts Council for performances in the Spring of 2012.

The opening section was inspired by watching loved ones enter brilliant patterns of sunlight as they played in the beach area of a Muskoka lake last summer. Blinding textures were reflecting off the lake in a million different ways, and one could perceive only the outlines of the people within the patterns. It was a mini-heaven, so I hoped to capture some of the serenity of the scene, but also a sense of the dense activity of the light upon the water. Musically, the strings hold the same notes for long periods of the time while the piano stays relentlessly active. Towards the end of the piece there is a comparable passage where the piano adds levels of intensity to sustained string lines that crescendo as the piano becomes brighter.

The title comes from a note-to-self that appeared while working on initial sketches. Before writing any notation I’ll typically spend many days at the piano, taping drawings and descriptions around the room. One of these contained a series of graphics with the note these start to catch fire meaning, I suppose, that they gradually become more active, faster and brighter in musical colour. This phrase seemed appropriate as a title as it speaks of the energy, spark and the play with brightness that I hope to convey in the music.