Mirror of Diana: Two Duos

by Pamela J. Marshall

for flute & percussion

Duration ~9 min.



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These two duos are contemporary chamber music that happen to be inspired by the same poem and are for the same pair of instruments. I don’t consider them two movements of a single work, although it is perfectly reasonable to perform them together too.

The poem “Mirror of Diana” by Victorian-era poet Mathilde Blind has an evocative opening and closing stanza. These pieces both came out of those lines, but they are very different in character.

The two pieces are:

  • float into the quiet skies: Rising lines soar upward, arpeggios and tremolos cascade up and down with a serene ending. Moderately challenging. Although in 4/4 it should be played with a cadenza-like freedom. Sparing percussion highlights the flute’s dramatic moments: high metal wind chimes, triangle, maraca. Duration approx. 4’45”
  • melt into the flux: More of an equal partnership than “float…”, the staccato notes of the flute and temple blocks answer each other and color each other’s sound. Much more rhythmically driven. Percussion is 5 temple blocks and 3 roto toms. Duration approx. 4′

Part of the Poetry-Inspired Music collection


float into the quiet skies: Listen to an MP3 audio file, created with virtual orchestra sounds, including East West Quantum Leap and Native Instruments Kontakt 3.

melt into the flux: Listen to a recording by Jessi Rosinski, flute and Jeffrey Means, percussion.

Poem – Excerpt

The Mirror of Diana
By Mathilde Blind (1841-1896)
from Birds of Passage (1895): Songs of the Occident

She floats into the quiet skies,
Where, in the circle of hills,
Her immemorial mirror fills
With light, as of a Virgin’s eyes
When, love a-tremble in their blue,
They glow twin violets dipped in dew.

Haunting the deep reflective mind,
You may surprise its perfect Sphere
Glassed like the Moon within her mere,
Who at a puff of alien wind
Melts in innumerable rings,
Elusive in the flux of things.

Read the whole poem at http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/blind03.html


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