Triskelion

for orchestra
2004
6 minutes

performed by University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Christopher Hill conducting

Instrumentation: 3 Flutes (1st doubles Piccolo, 3rd doubles Alto Flute) / 2 Oboes / Cor Anglais / 2 Clarinets in Bb / Bass Clarinet in Bb / 2 Bassoons / Contrabassoon / 4 Horns in F / 3 Trumpets in C / 2 Trombones / Bass Trombone / Tuba / Timpani / 4 Percussion / Piano (Celesta) / Harp / Strings

Program Note: The triskelion, or triskele, is a symbol that appears in various forms throughout history in what is now the European continent; it is believed to have first appeared in Anatolian kingdoms in the 4th century BCE. Most commonly, it appears as "three running legs, bent at the knee, conjoined at the centre." However, the symbol that inspired this piece appears in the form of a Celtic knot featuring three connected spirals contained within a circle. In the pagan realm of spirituality, a part of its significance is tied to the idea that within the life cycle of a woman there are three stages: maiden, mother, and crone. Each of these corresponds to the cycles of the moon – new and waxing, full, and waning, respectively. The beauty of the Celtic knot lies in the fact that it is composed of one, continuous strand manifesting something much more complex – in the case of the triskelion, a continuous flow through the cycle on a small (lunar) and large (life) scale, always ending (and beginning) in rebirth. It is truly a celebration of change, evolution, growth and the things that make life precious and enduring as the cycle flows on.