The Wood Nymph of Nonacris, by Benjamin Boone

December 15, 2014

Program notes by Bradley Wilber

The debt to “Syrinx” mounts as we advance through the decades. Benjamin Boone’s title Wood Nymph of Nonacris (1989) is another reference to Syrinx; Nonacris is the locale where Pan and Syrinx crossed paths and is mentioned by name in Ovid’s Metamorphosis. The piece is actually the first movement of a two-movement work that was originally called “Wood Nymph of Nonacris” and later re-christened “A Tribute to Debussy’s Syrinx.” The first movement as Assimakopoulos plays it here has taken on the title once applied to the entire work.

“[Tribute] was the first piece I wrote in graduate school, and the first movement here was an exercise in suggesting broad harmonic progressions with a single line. I recall doing and in-depth analysis of ‘Syrinx’ that same semester and I know it informed my composition a great deal. I even made a conscious attempt to imitate it, in terms of mood and shape, “ Boone says.There is an extended technique at work here to lend a decidedly latter-day flavor to this Debussy homage. The lip bend (slowly changing the position of the flute with the hands to make the pitch drop_ provides one of the more telling effects in this piece because it so vividly suggests a swoon- something the virginal Syrinx may well have suffered when confronted with the sight of the grotesque, inflamed Pan.

This piece is performed by Nina Assimakopoulos and was released on her 2003 CD Arcadian Murmurs, Pan in Pieces, Vol. I (Euterpe Recordings 202) as part of the Pan Project, an endeavor that commissions and records works for flute based on the Greek god Pan.

Recording Date:  2003
Recording Location:  Houghton College
Ensemble Type:  Solo Flute
Duration: 0:04:01
Performer: Nina Assimakopoulos, flute

About the Music

Composer: Benjamin Boone
Instrumentation: Flute
Place of Composition:
Date Composed: 1989

The Wood Nymph of Nonacris

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