The Wounded Angel

The Wounded Angel


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The Wounded Angel (2013) is written for piccolo, two flutes, alto flute and bass flute, and is dedicated to Christine Turellier, a professor of flute at the Lille Conservatory of Music (France) where the work was premiered.  These pieces were inspired by a painting entitled The Wounded Angel (1967) by the visionary British artist Cecil Collins (1908-1990). His works have been the basis for a number of D’Angelo’s compositions. For example, one of his latest pieces for orchestra takes its inspiration from Collins’ painting The Angel of the Flowing Light (1968). In his extensive output the artist often used angels and fools as symbols of purity and wisdom.  In the painting, the earthbound, winged, wounded angel is lying on its side with its eyes closed. Its colours blend in with the purplish colours of the earth. In the distance is a mountain shaped like a pyramid while the sky is filled with shades of orange. Just at the point where the mountain meets the bleak landscape we see the sun just rising. This angel has been injured and fallen to Earth and in its distress has to find a way of healing itself and ascending to its spiritual home.  In this highly impressionistic piece the piccolo stands for the wounded angel. It has a three note motif and its wound is suggested by the semitone difference of the second note each time the motif is repeated. The piece is a voyage through all the states of mind the angel experiences. For example, there are moments of contemplation and peace where the alto and bass flutes play rocking rhythms in open fifths. The final bars of The Wounded Angel portray the gentle power of the angel to heal itself and return to the heavens. Here, following the motif of the gently rocking rhythms the piccolo plays two ascending fourths leading to a G sharp which has its resolution in the angels keynote A.

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