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for Flute, Bassoon and Harp

The Discovery, Last Rites, Cremation and Apotheosis of The Sewanee Summer Music Festival's Legendary King Beetle

Duration: approximately 4 minutes

Scarab! was the Second Place Winner in the 2014 Sewanee Summer Music Festival's King Beetle Composition Competition.

The Legend of King Beetle

Early one morning, during the Sewanee Summer Music Festival on the stately campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, the door of the Bassoon Studio opens to reveal a plague of biblical proportions: the entire studio is filled with the decaying corpses of beetles!

After seeking the learned counsel of campus religious leaders and a Low Brass instructor, the frightened bassoonists resolve to exorcise the infestation along with the unknown demon responsible for it by locating and cremating the fallen leader of the Beetle Legion - King Beetle. Searching frantically among the remains of the insect warriors, they soon locate the lifeless king lying under a discarded bocal. So enormous is his corpse that a special coffin must be hastily constructed.

The makeshift coffin is placed atop an imposing funeral pyre built from pages ripped from a full score of Niccolò Paganini's Violin Concerto #1. In mock reverence, the bassoonists eulogize King Beetle by spinning fanciful and improbable tales of his winged exploits as ruler of the Beetle Legion. Then, with a brief fanfare performed by two trumpeters from the Sewanee Symphony, the funeral pyre is lit and growing flames consume the coffin.

As the fire wanes and dies, hope mounts that the infestation will not recur. But suddenly the ashes come alive with ethereally glowing images, eerily animating the fanciful tales told by the bassoonists. The shocked bassoonists watch as the translucent specter of King Beetle wriggles free from the ashes of his coffin, shakes his ghostly wings, and flies directly back to the Bassoon Studio! An impossible yet indisputable apotheosis has occurred. The bassoonists' fiery proceedings have exorcised neither demon nor infestation. Instead, their ceremony has resurrected the Beetle King, who, ascended to a higher plane, will most certainly in turn resurrect his Beetle Legion and torment this and all future Sewanee Summer Music Festivals as…the Beetle God!

-Freely adapted (made up) by the Composer



Published by Metamorphic Music.