At the end of my sophomore year of college, I was challenged to write a piece for flute and piano using only nine notes of the chromatic scale. I was further instructed to draw inspiration from Gerhard Richter’s painting Canaletto. By the end of the compositional process, Fade to Black reflected the dueling calm and chaos I saw in the piece, using only the pitches C through G-sharp—A, B-flat, and B never appear. Though it started as an academic exercise, it quickly became one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever composed.
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This recording of Fade to Black features Jeremiah Sweeney, piano, and Erin Delaney, flute: