Nina C. Young

Composer and Sound Artist

Title: Vestigia Flammae
Ensemble: Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Lorraine Vaillancourt - conductor
Instrumentation: 15 musicians: flute (+alto, picc.), oboe (+english horn), clarinet (+e-flat cl.), bass clarinet, bassoon (+contra), horn, trumpet, bass trombone, percussion, piano, 2 violins, viola, cello, bass
Duration: 14:00
Year Composed: 2014

Program Note:

In book IV of Virgil's Aeneid, Dido – long in grief over her husband's death – is awakened suddenly from emotional slumber by the visiting Trojan hero Aeneas, proclaiming “Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae” (“I recognize the traces of an ancient fire”).

Vestigia Flammae is not explicitly narrative in nature; like other recent works, it deals with the central concepts of lost memories, vestigial emotions, and melancholy for the passage of time. In contrast to those other works, a strain of optimism characterizes this piece: here, renewal is the driving force – the idea of recollecting, re-experiencing, and rekindling traces of old fires. This piece searches, through ritual and repetition, for remnants of vanished memories, and forgotten music. The mind has difficulty remembering – fragmented fossils are pieced together – much is lost and gained in the process. Ultimately an entirely new experience emerges, fraught with nostalgia, complexity, optimism, and simplicity. It’s a new beginning.

Vestigia Flammae was written for the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s 2014 Forum.

Nina C. Young - composer