Florence Anna Maunders - Eight Of Wands

Workshop performance video

The Eight of Wands in a traditional tarot deck depicts eight sprouting wands sailing through the air over a desert at high speed. Their flight suggests change, movement and travel. The sky is clear and a beautiful river is flowing freely and giving life to the surrounding landscape. In a tarot reading this card often suggests events happening rapidly, projects completed quickly, new energy flowing and driving new creativity. The card can also signify over-hastiness, and the urge to start new tasks with the current ones still unfinished – perhaps a bit of the “bright shiny object syndrome”.

In this piece the ideas of haste, speed and rushing pace are developed alongside the visual impression of rushing through the air – the 8 wooden wands of the card's design reflected closely in the 4 wooden instruments and 4 wooden bows of the quartet.

The piece falls into alternating sections. The first section is a rapid-direction-changing swirl of notes, played with the lightest of touches, like leaves driven by the wind, while the contrasting second type of music is more static, with longer 'cello notes rising over a rustling pizzicato accompaniment from the rest of the quartet. As the piece progresses, every time the first type of music repeats, it becomes not only faster, but also more compressed, with the musical material squeezed into tighter and tighter spaces, becoming eventually a hectic, frantic scramble over the finish line.

Composer: Florence Anna Maunders

Composer photo
Photo of Florence Anna Maunders

Florence Anna Maunders started to compose as a teen-aged boy, studied at the RNCM, won a few prizes and commissions and then basically stopped composing for over a decade, turning instead to teaching, jazz arranging and performance and electronic music production. In 2018 she began to transform her life, returning to composition and was rewarded with a string of successes with performances, premieres, prizes and commissions in the UK, Europe, USA and around the world, and somewhere along the way became a girl. A lot of people (including herself) were very surprised by these developments. Flori is still very much influenced by EDM, jazz and the traditional music of the Near East, but also a lot of her music represents her interest in the spiritual aspects of life, LGBT+ experiences (no surprise there) and a real desire to write music to which listeners can relate on an emotional level. A lot of her pieces have a very strong sense of rhythm or groove, or a feel of dance. Recently she's worked with so many wonderful musicians, and is very grateful for the support she's received from Sound And Music and Help Musicians UK. She's currently working on two opera projects, two commissions for leading ensembles in the USA, and one for a UK orchestra as well as teaching, conducting (paused for coronavirus) and trying to complete a masters degree. Her favourite colour is either rainbow or black.