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The Temptation of Saint Anthony

Winner of a 2019 BMI Student Composer Award

Winner: 2019 IU New Music Ensemble Commission

Instrumentation: clarinet in E-flat, clarinet in B-flat (doubling bass clarinet and cap pistol), harpsichord (doubling upright piano), 2 violas, cello, percussion (1 player), violin (offstage)

Duration: ca. 13'

First performed: November 6th, 2018 at IU, conducted by the composer

I. Pastorale

II. Pilgrimage

III. The Temptation of Saint Anthony

IV. ​Æther


Program Note

This work is divided into four scenes from the life of the famous Christian monk Anthony of Egypt, and takes some inspiration from the many depictions of the saint’s temptation by supernatural forces in visual art. The first section evokes a scene of Anthony meditating in a pastoral setting, perhaps from his final years on earth as a hermit. The following three sections are taken from earlier chapters in the monk’s life, with the cello representing the character of Saint Anthony throughout. The second section deals with his struggle against the elements during his desert travels, and the third—and longest—section depicts his temptation by demons in the desert, represented musically by the clarinets, violas, and tambourine. The scope of the work broadens suddenly in the final section, where Saint Anthony experiences a “vision of heaven” after overcoming temptation.

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