Mikel Kuehn - Works

Chimera (2017), for flute and piano

Program Note

The term Chimera comes from ancient Greece and refers to a mythological fire-breathing female monster composed from the head of a lion, body of a goat, and tail of a serpent. It more generally describes a monster made from various animal parts, an organism consisting of different genetic compositions, or a fanciful mental illusion or fabrication. My flute and piano piece Chimera, composed in 2017, was inspired by all of these concepts. Its general dramatic narrative can be viewed as a textural traversal of this “monster” beginning with the sinewy tail through the disparate animal parts of the body, and ending with the fire breathing head of the lion. As a musical analog to the monster, Chimera is constructed from thirty-six episodic sections, each based on a combination of six distinct musical character-types: scorrevole (flowing), pulsare (pulsing), misterioso (mysteriously),  grazioso (gracefully), giocoso (playfully/jokingly), and agitato (agitated). The overall form of the piece combines these six character types into all possible pairs resulting in an ever-changing musical texture. Chimera was written for and inspired by my friends and colleagues Conor Nelson (flute) and Thomas Rosenkranz (piano), and was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard.