Fire moves in a variety of ways. Crawling fire spreads quickly, but close to the ground through low-level vegetation. Clarinets begin Wildfire by mimicking this behavior, and their music spreads rapidly to the rest of the orchestra. Upwards licks in the woodwinds strain to create fire whirls, gigantic tornado-like structures built from fire. But though much of the motivic material throughout the work alludes to fire-like gestures, the structure of the piece is removed from the actual trajectory of a wildfire. Instead we transition from the initial burst of energy to a soft, still view of the wreckage and gradual rebirth that follow the storm, before finally resuming the furious race towards the end.
Read by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA 2012
Premiered by the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Ann Arbor MI 2007