Sub rosa literally means 'beneath the rose'. Since the time of the ancient Greeks, one of the connotations of the rose has been secrecy or discretion (Aphrodite gave a rose to her son Eros who passed on to Harprocrates, the Greek god of silence).
This short piece for oboe quintet was written to a specific narrative which is sub rosa – it cannot be revealed. So there are sudden changes of pace, of perspective and emotional temperature in the music: think of it as a miniature soap opera whose plot is hidden and which you are invited to work out for yourself.
Invited to write work by fellows of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
16 May 2008: Ensemble 08