The startling new score, ‘Lights in Ashes’, is an orchestral re-imagination of the seventh and final movement of Bettison’s earlier work, ‘O Death’, for ensemble and electronics from 2005-2007.
‘O Death’ was inspired by a folk song of the same name, and tells the story of a young man who pleads with Death not to ‘take him too soon’. A commercial recording of ‘O Death’ was released in 2010 and received critical acclaim.
The new piece, however, takes its title from the 1658 Sir Thomas Browne book Hydriotaphia, or Urne-Burial, and has now been arranged for 23 musicians and pre-recorded audio. ‘Lights in Ashes’ maintains the original chamber ensemble version but makes additions to the opening.
This is the first composition from Bettison to premiere since he was named a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow in early April 2017.