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William Campbell Green-Fire-Variations-for-cello-piano
Catalogue #:WCL-002
Composer Green Fire Variations
William Campbell

Green Fire Variations

for cello and piano

Green Fire Variations, for cello and piano, is music about the energy within wild things.  The title uses words borrowed from writer and conservationist Aldo Leopold:

We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view. (Sand County Almanac)

Musically the composition is based on one short motive and scale reminiscent of a favorite composer, Béla Bartók.  I used it in many different and varied guises: in dark, dramatic statements; interwoven playfulness; lyrical dance sections; solo introspection; and call and response between parts.  The cello part is quite challenging in a number of areas, and while the piano part is mostly in a helpful role, the two create a balance.  There’s an intentional sinuous mystery to the underlying ideas of the music, and I hope it conveys at least in part an aspect of the life force of the wild.