Flights of Imagination

Daniel Burwasser composer

Release Date: April 14, 2023
Catalog #: NV6512
Format: Digital
21st Century
String Quartet

Daniel Burwasser’s music has been praised as accessible, communicative, and imaginative, descriptors encapsulated in the recordings of FLIGHTS OF IMAGINATION, a comprehensive release including some of Burwasser’s most beloved works. Burwasser provides no shortage of musical variety; the childlike wonder of Catching Fireflies is paired with the rhythmic, jubilant, and occasionally mystical qualities of Whirlwind, Flux, and Puck’s Game, while A Well-Traveled Road is a tumultuous and lively musical journey through lush, overflowing fields of orchestration. There is undoubtedly something for every musical ear in the works of Daniel Burwasser, and in FLIGHTS OF IMAGINATION, listeners will be well-met in finding it.


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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Catching Fireflies Daniel Burwasser Seattle Symphony Orchestra | Gerard Schwarz, conductor 8:31
02 Whirlwind: I. Quarter Note = 84 Daniel Burwasser Arcadian Winds | Vanessa Holroyd, flute; Mark Miller, clarinet; Jane Harrison, oboe; Laura Carter, french horn; Janet Underhill, bassoon 1:54
03 Whirlwind: II. Quarter Note = 70 Daniel Burwasser Arcadian Winds | Vanessa Holroyd, flute; Mark Miller, clarinet; Jane Harrison, oboe; Laura Carter, french horn; Janet Underhill, bassoon 4:17
04 Whirlwind: III. Dotted quarter Note = 100 Daniel Burwasser Arcadian Winds | Vanessa Holroyd, flute; Mark Miller, clarinet; Jane Harrison, oboe; Laura Carter, french horn; Janet Underhill, bassoon 2:23
05 Flux Daniel Burwasser Concordia Orchestra | Marin Alsop, conductor 10:01
06 A Well-Traveled Road Daniel Burwasser The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra | Robert Stankovsky, conductor 11:27
07 Puck's Game Daniel Burwasser Sirius Quartet | Fung Chern Hwei, Gregor Huebner - violin; Ron Lawrence, viola; Jeremy Harman, cello 5:08

Catching Fireflies
Recorded June, 1997
Producer Adam Stern
Engineer Albert G. Swanson
Editing Peter Kelly, Jonathan Wyner & Adam Stern

Recorded January 28, 2016 at MixOne Studios in Boston MA
Producer Matt Konrad
Engineer Adam Weiss
Editing & Mixing Shaun Michaud

Recorded March 26, 1999 at Master Sound in Astoria NY

A Well-Traveled Road
Recorded 1995 at Slovak Radio and Television Studios, Slovak National Republic
Executive Producers Elliott Miles McKinley, Peter Kelly
Recording Session Producers Peter Zagar, Emil Nizñansky
Recording Session Engineer Hubert Geschwandtner

Puck’s Game
Recorded September 26, 2019 at Futura Productions in Roslindale MA
Producer Brad Michel
Engineer John Weston
Assistant Engineer Jacob Steingart
Editing & Mixing Brad Michel

Mastering Melanie Montgomery

Executive Producer Bob Lord

A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Jeff Leroy

VP of Production Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Aidan Curran

Artist Information

Daniel Burwasser


Daniel Burwasser, born in New Brunswick NJ, is an American composer who has been writing and playing music since the age of 5. Originally a student of the piano, he eventually progressed to other forms of percussion, including drum set and orchestral percussion. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Temple University, a Master of Arts degree from Rutgers University, and his Ph.D. in Composition from the Graduate School of CUNY. He is a recipient of grants from both The American Music Center and Meet the Composer.

Arcadian Winds


Arcadian Winds was founded at Boston University in 1987. Originally a woodwind trio consisting of flute, clarinet, and bassoon, the ensemble expanded to a wind quintet in 1989. Since its formation, Arcadian Winds has premiered almost 50 new works and championed many others. With a strong commitment to education, the group has brought chamber and contemporary music into the public, private and community schools in the Boston Area.

Sirius Quartet


Internationally acclaimed veterans of contemporary music, Sirius Quartet combines exhilarating repertoire with unequalled improvisational fire. These conservatory-trained performer-composers shine with precision, soul and a raw energy rarely witnessed on stage, championing a forward-thinking, genre-defying approach that makes labels like 'New Music' sound tame.

Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra


The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (SOSR) was established in 1929 as the orchestra of the Bratislava-based branch of the Radiojournal radio institution, being the first professional symphony orchestra in Slovakia.


Sometimes the composer may point us to the meaning of a piece without actually providing it. Says Daniel Burwasser: “Catching Fireflies is an ode to childhood’s tender memories and joys. The thematic material and structure of the work reflect the immediacy and innocent fascination of a time when everything is new and exciting, and something as simple as the flashing of a firefly can capture the imagination.”

The opening indeed creates visions of sprightly fireflies. An animated seven-note figure, first introduced by the strings and then taken up by the brass and woodwinds, suggests a dazzling nocturnal scene of children scurrying after the elusive insects. The theme rapidly transmogrifies, aided by echoing dialogues between instruments and abrupt percussive effects. Then one hears a placid lyrical interlude, beginning with contemplative strains. Have the catchers settled back to view the stars? Like youth itself, the segment doesn’t last and is pushed aside by a subdued version of the lead theme. This time, a lyrical melody provides a whiff of melancholia, but one limned by kaleidoscopic xylophone notes. Then, a longer adagio theme, and while it reflects the original lyrical interlude, it soon assumes a nostalgic aura reminiscent of fifties film music, perhaps evoking a romantic theme from an old movie the composer attended as a youth. The night is not over, and as the tempo increases, the brass sounds a variation of the opening melody; there is a brief parenthesis of calm, then a crashing tutti puts an end to the evening activities.

— Peter Bates

The traditional woodwind quintet —flute, oboe, clarinet, french horn, and bassoon— presents the composer with a fascinating opportunity to blend sonorities and timbres. This woodwind quintet, Whirlwind, was written in 2014. In many ways, I have taken the classical form as my model. It is a three-movement work in the standard fast-slow-fast structure, and although I label the movements merely with their tempo markings — I. Quarter note = 84 II. Quarter note = 70 III. Dotted quarter note = 100 — I aspire to a venerable tradition, including a rondo-like finale that, I hope, honors Haydn. The first movement is based on a single lyrical theme that is stated throughout by each member of the ensemble, either in whole or in part. The second movement is a slow ternary form and features long, expressive melodic lines. The title has no programmatic implication; it expresses my essential interest in momentum and expressive concision in my musical style.

— Daniel Burwasser

Flux began as a brief sketch for a string quartet but was then abandoned. After reexamining this fragment a few years later, I thought it was worth expanding into a more extensive work, particularly a string orchestra piece, the once-shelved fragment becoming the introductory thematic material for the new work. This introductory section appears again toward the end but has been slightly expanded to create a “bookend” effect. The newly added sections of the work feature varying tempi, textures, and melodic ideas, which have been linked together to create a chain of events maintaining the unity of the piece. Since Flux operates in a perpetual state of change, the title was a natural fit.

— Daniel Burwasser

Roads, paths, and traveling of them have provided artists in all media a likely subject for symbolizing life’s trek through time and space. Unlike the poet Robert Frost, who describes at a crossroads his choice of “The Road Not Taken,” Burwasser chooses instead the “well-traveled” one, suggesting the musical language and syntax of this piece is such that it promises the listener a pleasant excursion through friendly musical territory. The listener is embarked with an ascending three-note gesture initiated by the basses, which gathers in excitement as it ascends to the heights of the orchestral spectrum. Chords played fortissimo separate this from a somewhat pungent three-note motive, the expressive potential of which will be amply demonstrated. The section comes to a close on a low sustained note in the strings, introducing two directionally balanced melodic gestures and the intervening chords – three ideas that pervade and unify the entire piece, particularly the descending motive. A passage follows, calm by contrast, in which the various instruments are given a turn at one or another of the melodic gestures introduced earlier. But the calm gives way to an increasingly agitated texture with interjections by harp chords and glissandos met with rapidly swelling chords in the lower brass, especially the timpani, which assertively assume the center of the aural stage, repeating the motive of the opening. They dominate for a while, surrounded by playful commentary from the ensemble. Although somewhat overshadowed by the repeated chords in the brass and strings, A march-like section —although in triple meter— presents mutations of both the opening gesture in the lower strings and the main motive in the tuba and timpani. Before long, a giggling conversation among the higher winds over an ostinato string accompaniment leads to a waltz – a curious reminiscence of old Vienna! But one is not lulled for long! A tumultuous section develops in which all tonal, rhythmic, and instrumental forces are called into climactic play. Included with permutations of the familiar motive are frequent percussive thumps, moaning trombones —descending glissandos— and conspicuously pervasive descending lines. Now and again, the thinning of the texture turns out to be but an unfulfilled promise of subsiding. Not until one more outburst is there a dissolution of forces leading to the final gentle pronouncement of the motive by the flutes, punctuated by the string section with a single chord.

— Robert Shankovich

Puck’s Game was composed in 2019 and is inspired by the actions of Shakespeare’s mischievous sprite, Puck, the fairy-like jester from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The music reflects Puck’s playful and restless nature through leaping gestures, frolicking motives, and restless rhythmical figures. While there is a moment in the work when Puck exudes a more tender side, his truly impish nature quickly returns at the conclusion of the piece.

— Daniel Burwasser