work details

Flames Will Grow

  • Instrumentation: mezzo-soprano, alto saxophone, and piano
  • Completed: May 2013
  • Duration: 9 minutes
  • Texts: Rumi (1207-1273)
  • Video:
    • Flames Will Grow

  • Audio:
  • Commission and Dedication:

    Allison Dromgold Adams and Liz Bouk

  • Program Note:

    Flames Will Grow is an exploration of grief, anger, emptiness, and the various many emotions that accompany the pain of broken love. Rumi’s ancient text portrays a visceral anguish that is still very much a part of our human experience of intimate connection. In my musical setting, I attempt to paint these words with a plethora of extended techniques for both the alto saxophone (key clicks, multiphonics, bisbigliando, flutter tonguing, growl, singing into the instrument while playing, quarter tones) and for the voice (Sprechstimmeglissandi, spoken text, chest voice, wide vibrato, straight tone). The pianist and saxophonist also speak at various times, adding another dimension of depth to the sonic palette.

    This work was commissioned by and is dedicated affectionately to both saxophonist Allison Dromgold Adams and her brother: mezzo-soprano Liz Bouk. Allison and I were classmates together at the Ithaca College School of Music from 2002-2006. It is an absolute delight to create this new music for Liz and Allison, ten years after Allison and I first met as students in upstate New York. I am so grateful for their adventurous spirits and ever-curious pursuit of new sounds and combinations, out of which came this gritty and passionate work of art music.

    -- Dominick DiOrio

    how long
    can i lament
    with this depressed
    heart and soul

    how long
    can i remain
    a sad autumn
    ever since my grief
    has shed my leaves

    the entire space
    of my soul
    is burning in agony

    how long can i
    hide the flames
    wanting to rise
    out of this fire

    how long can one suffer
    the pain of hatred
    of another human
    a friend behaving like an enemy

    with a broken heart
    how much more
    can i take the message
    from body to soul

    i believe in love
    i swear by love
    believe me my love

    how long
    like a prisoner of grief
    can i beg for mercy

    you know i'm not
    a piece of rock or steel
    but hearing my story
    even water will become
    as tense as a stone

    if i can only recount
    the story of my life
    right out of my body
    flames will grow

  • Performances:
    • October 9, 2013 (premiere)
      Allison Dromgold Adams, alto saxophone; Liz Bouk, mezzo-soprano; Kevin Class, piano 
      UT Knoxville School of Music - Knoxville, TN
    • March 21, 2014
      Allison Dromgold Adams, alto saxophone; Liz Bouk, mezzo-soprano; Kevin Class, piano
      Featured performance at the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference
      Krannert Center for the Performing Arts 
      University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Champaign, IL 
    • April 13, 2017
      Jeremy Jackson, alto saxophone; Rebekah Mansfield, soprano; Stephen Downing, piano
      UTM Contemporary Music Group
      University of Tennessee at Martin - Martin, TN
    • September 25, 2019
      Allison Adams, alto saxophone; Liz Bouk, mezzo-soprano; Andrea Lodge, piano
      Performing Arts Center - Adelphi University
      Garden City, NY
    • September 28, 2019
      Allison Adams, alto saxophone; Liz Bouk, mezzo-soprano; Andrea Lodge, piano
      Brooklyn, New York City, NY