Work

Program Notes

Parhelia (1983) was written in Utrecht, Netherlands, when I was Artist-in-Residence at the Institute of Sonology. It was my first commission, made with private funds for Lorien Benet’s graduation recital in violin. The piece is dedicated to her.

Parhelia is the atmospheric phenomena known as sundogs, one or more false suns visible clearly on either side of the real sun. Sundogs are among the strongest memories of my prairie childhood, when I could see three suns in the cold Winter sky. (The is also a Schubert song in Winterreise about sundogs.) The violin plays a latticework of open strings and harmonics, often around central notes. The title is a poetic reference to this aspect of the music. — Rodney Sharman, April, 2009