The subtitle of Joelle Wallach’s Woodwind Quintet, “O llama de amor viva (Oh, living flame of love),” is the first line of a poem by the Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross. The music depicts fire’s gentle flicker and sudden conflagration as a metaphor for the varying intensity of consuming spiritual love. The brief rising phrase each instrument breathes in the short slow introduction is a single, graceful lick of flame. As the piece progresses through rapid changes of tempo, texture and mood, the phrases ignite, flaring together or blazing separately, creating climaxes, flashing toward a final flushed moment of glowing repose.
Score and parts included: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon