Refiner's Fire


Print Edition Price: 

$15.50 performance score

Year Authored (or revised): 



violin and guitar

Duration (min): 


First Performance: 

Hartt School, 10/27/19, Amaranth Duo

Composer's Note:

After having written Chris Ladd a guitar concerto, I'd wanted to continue the collaboration with a chamber work. Once he teamed up with Asa Gudjónsdóttir, I began to consider the medium of violin/guitar duo, and an inconic sound immediately came to me: sustained but sizzling violin tones, surrounded by sonic flecks from the guitar. The image is like that of a
flame, throwing off sparks.

That in turn led to an association: the aria from Handel's Messiah, "Who May Abide the Day of his Coming", which has a recurrent fast section beginning, "For He is like a refiner's fire..." I've always loved this song, and so I set out to do something I've not attempted for a while, i.e. to make a piece based on a pre-existent work. The Handel is a source from which motives and harmonic progressions are drawn, but it's not quoted (except for a crucial fragment in the last bar).

The piece was written in a far more intuitive manner than many of my works from the last couple of decades, though it does still keep in mind a "deep" harmonic background of the overtone series emerging from a low D.

Ensemble Type: 

duo inst or voices
Internal Fields


guitar acoustic classical
Place a print order or inquire about this work