Sean William Calhoun | Composer and pianist

Metamorphose, for solo flute (2017) – 4'

Metamorphose was composed for the flutist Robin Meiksins. A print of Escher’s Metamorphosis II appears frequently in the background of Robin’s videos, so I took it as the model for this piece. A (partially arbitrary) system was used to assign notes and articulations to letters to begin the piece as Escher’s woodcut begins, with the word METAMORPHOSE. From there it follows Escher’s development into crossed words, checkers, scurrying creatures (salamanders?), hexagons, a honeycomb with larvae that emerge as bees, which in turn continue morphing into interlocking patterns of, fish, birds, cubes, which spread into a coastal city, a chessboard, then return via checkers to the original METAMORPHOSE. This model gives the piece a continuous form, in which sections blend into others, with segments of the original METAMORPHOSE theme recurring in various guises, particularly a staccato leaping figure associated with geometric figures (squares, hexagons, cubes, etc.).


Recording by Robin Meiksins.