About this work:
The winter aconite is a species of flowering bulb (Eranthis hyemalis). Its small, yellow, buttercup-like flowers are among the very first to appear each year; in the northeastern U.S., it can bloom as early as February, while there is still snow on the ground. Like so many of the little early bulbs, winter aconites will naturalize - they will propagate themselves and form large colonies.
This piece, Winter Aconites, was commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation and the Bang on a Can Festival in memory of John Cage. Shortly after I began work on it (and before it had a title), I had a dream in which I brought a pot of winter aconite flowers to Cage. He was delighted - he loved flowers and plants - and later during my visit, we made sandwiches with some of the blooms (I have no idea whether winter aconites are actually edible or not). Like the flowers in my dream, this piece is a gift for John Cage.
The electronic part of Winter Aconites was made at the Winham Laboratory of Princeton University.
Year composed: 1993
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 6-9 players
Instrumentation: 1 Clarinet, 1 Vibraphone, 1 Piano, 1 Cello, 1 Double bass, 1 Electric Guitar, 1 Prerecorded Sound (Tape/CD/Other)
Instrumentation notes: This piece also includes electronic sound played back on CD. The piano part is bowed. The guitar is electric guitar. There is also an arrangement of this piece for alto flute, bass clarinet, cello, electric guitar, piano, and vibraphone.