Shadowflowers is an unstaged psychodrama for soprano, tenor, and
chamber ensemble. The text, assembled from the poetry of Stefan George,
Stéphane Mallarmé, and Guillaume Apollinaire, concerns two beautiful,
yet repulsive, artificial worlds. George's poem, from "Algabal," used
in its entirety, presents to the reader an underground garden,
beautiful but completely artificial, black, and dead. In Mallarmé's
"Hérodiade," excerpted here, the reader encounters a beautiful virgin,
living in a world of white and jewels, allowing nothing to touch her.
The poems are sung together, commenting on each other while carrying on
their own dramatic senses. Another factor in choosing the text was the
constant recurrence of the words "shadow" and "flower" in all excerpts,
which contributes to the black/white, dark/bright imagery. The music is
in two unbroken sections, following the shape of the text.