Fire Flowers (movement #3 from the suite Heart Songs of the White Wampum)

  • Composer: Timothy Corlis 
  • Publisher: Silent Dawn Music Publishing
  • Cat No: 1903 (cat # is this is the whole suite of four movements)
  • Canadian Work: Yes
  • Duration: 5:19
  • Sample Track:

Program Notes:

Commissioned by Elektra Women’s Choir, Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director, Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont, Dr. Dawn Willis, Artistic Director, and the University of Toronto Women’s Chamber Choir, Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Conductor. Commissioned with the generous financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Diane Loomer Commissioning Fund for Elektra Women’s Choir.

The concert opens in a most unusual way with a sparse, repeated, staccato “A” on the marimba, no choir, no piano. I want listeners to be surprised and curious from the outset, a bit unsettled by the unusual start this piece provides. The unison choir line that begins 30 seconds in doesn’t insist on attention – it draws one in with its glissandi and building layers around a static, sustained “A”. More surprises are in store from the marimba in this mesmerizing piece.


This lists any discs, concerts or collections where this piece is included.



Poem by E. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) from Flint and Feather and adapted by the composer

And only where the forest fires have sped,
Scorching relentlessly the cool north lands,
A sweet wild flower lifts its purple head,
And, like some gentle spirit sorrow-fed,
It hides the scars with almost human hands.

And only to the heart that knows of grief,
Of desolating fire, of human pain,
There comes some purifying sweet belief,
Some fellow-feeling beautiful, if brief.
And life revives, and blossoms once again.