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Corona defined was written at the request of Julian Leeks and Sound World as part of a project to support freelance musicians during the period of lockdown due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. I have written especially for the work’s dedicatees Paul Barrett (violin), Fran Hicks (viola), Steph Gilbert (flute) and Tomas Klément (piano), fantastic musicians with whom I have worked extensively over the past years as part of Sound World’s composition workshops. The piece is in four brief movements, in total lasting just over 3 minutes. Each uses a different definition of the word ‘corona’ as its starting point:

I Corona (Solitaire): Game: A relatively long and difficult solitaire game using two decks where the object of the game is to move all the cards to the Foundations.

II Thin clouds, mist or sometimes dust: Meteorology: A circle or set of circles having a small radius and ranging in color from blue inside to red outside, attributable to the diffraction caused by thin clouds, mist, or sometimes dust as distinguished from a halo.

III Spring Narcissus: Botany: The structural homology of the daffodil corona has remained a source of debate throughout the history of botany. Scanning electron microscope images and serial sections demonstrate that corona initiation occurs late in development, after the other floral whorls are fully developed.

IV Loops, streamers and plumes: Astronomy: The corona is in the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere—far from its surface, yet it is hundreds of times hotter than the Sun’s surface, a mystery of temperature. The Sun's magnetic fields affect charged particles in the corona to form beautiful features, including streamers, loops, and plumes.


1 Flute, 1 Piano, 1 Violin, 1 Viola
Composition date