The Lure of the Flowering Fern

for Chamber Orchestra (2,1,2,2 – 2,2,1,0 – timp, 1 perc, str) 

Composed: 2023 
Total duration: 10’30” 
Published by Gavia Music (ASCAP) 

Commissioned and to be premiered on September 29, 2024 by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra with the generous support of Gerry and Gail Ludtka

According to the Baltic and Slavic legends, in the deep, impenetrable forest, once a year, on the eve of the summer solstice, at the stroke of midnight, blooms the rarest botanical wonder, the fern flower. Its arrival is heralded by thunder, as its petals begin to glow like a diamond, with gold, purple, and blue radiance. This spectacle is short-lived for the fragile bloom is destined to wither before the coming of the dawn.

If one is extraordinarily lucky to find the blossom, one must never pluck it, but rather gently shake it onto a pristine linen cloth and then swiftly wrap it to be carried safely and secretly back home, or else it will vanish into thin air.

For centuries, men and women have been drawn to marshy, secluded corners of the forest in search of the mythical fern flower as its possession promises supernatural wisdom, boundless love, health, wealth, happiness, and the ability to comprehend the language of animals.

But the blossom remains elusive not merely due to its secret habitat but also because it is guarded by mythological creatures, evil spirits, and serpents ready to terrify the timid and unprepared with eerie sights and sounds.

The timeless tradition of seeking the mysterious fern flower has often served as a charming excuse for young couples to seek refuge in the forest, allowing them to share intimate moments on the enchanted night of the midsummer’s fertility festivities.

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