Sean William Calhoun | Composer and pianist

The Light Flickers, for vibraphone and piano (2018) – 13'

I. "illuminate beneath the amber glow"
II. "the last yet to be replaced"
III. "flicker back"
The Light Flickers was composed for the duo of pianist Yoshiko Arahata and percussionist Joshua Graham. It draws its titles and inspiration from a passage early in a game masquerading as a visual novel (which later turns out to be more psychological horror), written by Dan Salvato. The vibraphone and piano are both resonant instruments, and resonance plays a large role in the piece, with luminous flourishes left to hang in the air. One melody, in particular the four-note motive that begins it, introduced partway through “illuminate beneath the amber glow,” runs throughout all movements. Echoing two-note figures spread and contract, sometimes seemingly independent of other layers. Hocket — lines or chords alternating between the instruments — grows out of these echoes. This, along with tight canons create the sense of the instruments filling in and copying each others’ lines in “the last yet to be replaced.” The rapid switching at the end of the second movements collapses into the waves of hocketed pulses of “flicker back,” which subside into a summation, alternately delicate and sonorous, woven between the two instruments.

Recording and score

Recording by Joshua Graham, vibraphone; Yoshiko Arahata, piano