Riflesso sull'acqua
for English horn & orchestra (2007 - revision: 2010)
15 minutes – no.41

'Riflesso' is the Italian word for sheen. In German one would say 'Abglanz', in French 'reflet', and in Dutch 'weerschijn'. 'Riflesso' is cognate with the more familiar word 'riflessione' (reflection), yet its meaning has additional subtlety: reflective light of a tone different from that of its source.

Riflesso sull'acqua ('sheen on the water') is part of the Riflessi series, which consists exclusively of companion pieces: each Riflesso explores the same exceptional scoring of an existing 'classic' by a composer from the past.

Riflesso sull'acqua is a companion piece for The Swan of Tuonela (1893), in which Jean Sibelius depicts the transcendental image of a mystical swan, swimming around the island of the dead. It makes use of the exact same instrumental combination: English horn accompanied by a symphony orchestra that lacks flutes, clarinets, trumpets, and tuba. The reduced woodwind section consists merely of one bass clarinet, two bassoons, and a single oboe whose subtle role it is to “amplify” the soloist. The string orchestra is heavily subdivided. >>>

photo: Icy Prospects #39 by Jorma Puranen
(reproduced with permission)