Into My Burning Veins a Poison

for quarter-tone alto flute, piano and electronics

Patrick Nunn

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for quarter-tone alto flute, piano and electronics

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Composer Patrick Nunn
Year of Composition 2003
Duration ca.7'
Categories (all composers) , , ,
Catalogue ID ce-pn1imbv1


The title Into my burning veins a poison depicts the closing part of Racine’s Greek tragedy Phaedra in which Phaedra takes her own life. In essence, the work represents Phaedra’s mental state as the poison takes her from torment to a place of rest.

The initial material for the piece came from a series of samples performed on the Japanese shakuhachi that I used in a theatre score for Phaedra in 2002. These samples were altered to form a series of conventional and quarter-tone pitches which serve as a ‘palette’ of tonal colour that transforms from dissonance to consonance over the duration of the piece.

The piece also incorporates a series of sampled texts (the last words spoken by Phaedra before she dies). Representing her internal dialogue, we hear in garbled, whispered French, “But death, robbing my eyes of light, will give back to the sun its tarnished purity”.

Into My Burning Veins a Poison was selected as the winning work for the Rarescale Prize at the Royal College of Music, London in 2004.

Audio excerpt taken from the album Morphosis by Patrick Nunn available at Red Sock Records.

Artists – Carla Rees (a.fl), Richard Shaw (pf), Patrick Nunn (elec).

Audio © 2015 Red Sock Records

Performance of this work requires additional media. Due to file size, these will be delivered via file transfer service upon purchase of the score and part set. If you do not receive these additional files, please contact Composers Edition.