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.
This recording of Fade to Black features Jeremiah Sweeney, piano, and Erin Delaney, flute: