Three Fates (2019)

double guitar orchestra and electroacoustic track
12 min. 

Three Fates takes its title from a painting by 20th century surrealist artist, Remedios Varo, and refers to three goddesses from Greek mythology: one was the spinner of the cloth, one was the weaver, and the third one would cut the cloth—the cloth being symbolic of a human life. Together, the three goddesses represented destiny. Musically, the piece was inspired by several different sources: bell ringing (change patterns), medieval plainchant, sitar music, specifically Raag Bhairavi (a scale similar to the Phrygian mode), and something in the vein of psychedelic guitar music. There is one short musical phrase quoted from “Haec Dies”, which appears toward the end of Three Fates, borrowed from 12th century composer, Leoninus. “Haec Dies” was apparently one of the very earliest written manuscripts in Europe, and was preserved at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. I was led to discover this music, since the fire at Notre Dame was in the news (April 15-16th), just as I was beginning to work on this piece. There are also bells appearing in the soundscape at the beginning and end of Three Fates, recorded at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.

Elizabeth Knudson was the 2019 winner of the Canadian Music Centre’s national “Creation Prize”, and Three Fates was commissioned through the CMC (Toronto), for premiere on August 24th, 2019, at Dominion-Chalmers United Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, as part of the International 21st Century Guitar Conference, hosted by the University of Ottawa.

Three Fates- premiere performance (click image above, to view on YouTube)

Sheet music is available through the Canadian Music Centre:

(sheet music link to come soon)