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Four Autumn Sketches for Flute and Piano (2005)

 

Premiered Friday, March 18, 2005, 5:00 P.M. at Killian Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technnology; Ole Nielsen, flute, Hsin-Bei Lee, piano. Program included J.S. Bach's "B minor Sonata for Flute and Harpsichord" and Robert Muczynski's "Sonata for Flute and Piano." Link to article written for MIT's Tech Talk: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2005/arts-flutist-0316.html

Ole Nielsen and Graham Gordon Ramsay review score for "Four Autumn Sketches," March, 2005.

Program notes from premiere:

In the of spring 2004 flautist Ole Nielsen and I began discussing common musical interests and experiences; the result of our conversations was my proposing a new work for flute and piano. Four Autumn Sketches for Flute and Piano was completed early the following year and received its premiere on March 18, 2005 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The work is in four movements, each describing a different New England location I visited during the fall of 2004. The first movement, Courtyard, Boston Public Library derives much of its musical material from the basic physical proportions of the courtyard, both in terms of pitch and time signatures.  The work opens with a three-bar introduction and then divides into four roughly equal sections: “Allegretto,” “Gracefully,” “Sprightly” and “Broadly,” each describing different perspectives and moods from within the courtyard. The second movement, The Ghosts of Blanchard Maine refers to a trip I took with my mother in October to investigate the maternal ancestral home where my great, great grandfather was born, and that his father before him had built. The original farm house is still standing, and I found myself wandering the acreage listening to the sounds of the place, imagining the presences of three generations of my forbears. This experience is reflected using a dramatically different language from the previous movement, with an eleven-tone row as the basis for the flute line. Movement three, Walden Pond is a meditation on the place made famous by Henry David Thoreau's writings. It is composed in a simple and constant ¾ time, but plays with long suspensions over the bar line and elongated syncopations creating a floating quality that belies the steady underlying beat pattern. The final movement, Rock River, Newfane Vermont is a fast flowing bravura movement that is about my impressions of the river at high crest with the loud, relentless drive of rushing water during a bright sunlit day. It divides into three sections (fast-slow-fast), with the middle section describing a calmer, sensuous part or the river and its wooded environs.