You Can’t Put Out the Flame Suite: for string orchestra (junior/intermediate)

(1 customer review)

A suite in three pieces for junior strings in response to the Australian landscape.



You Can’t Put Out the Flame is a suite in three pieces for junior string ensemble. The work was premiered at the Lake Bolac Eel Festival and is a response to the ancient landscape of the small town of Lake Bolac in western Victoria, its large freshwater lake forged by volcanic activity millennia ago.

Prior to colonisation, for tens of thousands of years Aboriginal clans gathered at the lake on Djabwurrung country.

For Vaughan, the title ‘You Can’t Put Out the Flame’ also refers to the ‘flame’ which ignites the spirit and survival of Australian Indigenous peoples. ‘Gondwana’ is marked largamente and suggests the expansiveness and stillness of the early supercontinent Gondwanaland; ‘Earth Fire’ is slightly more challenging in an alternating 3/8 2/4 metre and represents the heat and energy of the molten rock under the earth’s crust; and ‘Volcano’ is in 12/8 and using mostly quaver notes depicts the exhilarating story of a volcano erupting. The three pieces can also be performed separately.

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Number of Pages: 42

Number of Parts: (minimum number of players – doubling, tripling, quadrupling, etc. encouraged)
1. Gondwana – 6 parts
2. Earth Fire – 3 parts
3. Volcano – 4 parts

Minimum Instrumentation:

3 Violins (or 2 violins and one viola)

3 Cellos (or 2 cellos and one viola)

Doubling, tripling, quadrupling etc of parts is invited and encouraged.

How do I use my music from the Flexible Ensemble Series?

This work for mixed ability players is suitable for a string ensemble or small orchestra using at least two violins, one violin/viola, two cellos and one cello/viola as the base. ‘Gondwana’ is in 6 parts, ‘Earth Fire’ is in 3 parts, and ‘Volcano’ is in 4 parts. Doubling, tripling, quadrupling etc. of parts is invited and encouraged.

All you need to do is assign parts to the players in your ensemble while ensuring you have a satisfactory balance and blend of instruments.

The Flexible Ensemble Series gives you the opportunity to mix and match parts to suit the young musicians in your ensemble.


Additional information


>5 Minutes

Base Instrumentation

Can be played by strings only

Number of Parts

6+ part

1 review for You Can’t Put Out the Flame Suite: for string orchestra (junior/intermediate)

  1. Heather Cummins

    “Can’t Put Out the Flame” Suite is an evocative and thoroughly engaging work, which can present challenges for the junior orchestra or be a satisfying addition to a program for intermediate strings.

    In the opening ‘Gondwana’ movement, students are drawn into a sense of vast deep time, with a full bodied rhythmic unison achieved through sustained legato stroke befitting the largamente. The Second Movement ‘Earth Fire’ is bursting with energetic intensity and offers students the opportunity to work on Down Up Up bowing, as well as to experience the invigoration of changing time signatures and the challenge of a prolonged and dramatic crescendo. In the finale, Volcano, students again experience the rousing power of rhythmic unison, this time with a repeated triplet quaver figure. The attacca chords at the finale make for a dramatic culmination.

    Superb writing for strings, “Can’t Put Out the Flame” Suite is an achievable work which will provide great musical satisfaction to players and audience members alike.

    Heather Cummins
    Co-Artistic Director, Resonance String Orchestra

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