When was it composed?
The National Arts Centre Orchestra (NACO) in Ottawa commissioned the work in 1993 when Linda Bouchard was their composer-in-residence.
When was it first performed?
The piece premiered at the National Arts Centre on September 22, 1993 with Trevor Pinnock conducting.
What instruments does the composer use?
2 flute, 2 oboe, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoon, 2 horns, 2 trumpets. Strings and timpani
How long is the piece?
Approximately 15 minutes
What does the composer have to say about her piece?
From the start I wanted to compose a Suite of contrasting movements, short movements but whole, each one distinct and extreme in its character. My goal was to play with orchestral colours in the most dramatic way. At the time I was reading Medieval Love Myths-there it was, a source of inspiration that allowed for excesses.
In 9 sections with pauses after II, IV, V and VII, these movements are related in pairs (I-VIII), (II-IX), (III-VII), (IV-VI) with V being a combination of all the movements.
These stories were filled with magical, passionate images: “Knights worthy, brave and fierce”, “love potions”, the “Naked Sword” lying between the lovers, figures such as Majnun and Layla (Madman and Night) who through separation became “madder than a thousand Majnuns”. These stories created the spirit of Exquisite Fires.
Is there a recording available?
Yes, shortly after the premiere Marquis Classics recorded it with the NAC Orchestra and it is available through many online sources.
Is there anyway I can get a taste of it in advance?
Again yes! The complete work has been posted on several YouTube sites: