About this work:
My recurring interest--and indulgence--in writing pieces for solo instruments has occasionally suggested writing for four instruments of a kind, hence pieces for four clarinets, four bassoons, four saxophones, four trombones, and, here, four
flutes. Each combination presents peculiar limitations to the composer but also possibilities found in no other. The agility of the flute and the opportunity to extend its range sometimes by substituting the higher piccolo or the lower alto flute for one of the four flutes provides more assets than liabilities.
The first movement is a play among four equal lines engaged in lively counterpoint. Contrast is provided by the introduction of a more sustained theme that grows out of the persistent running figure that is heard throughout. There are increases and releases of tension that end only when a line played by the piccolo seems to fly off into space like a lost balloon.
Because of its sustained, deeply expressive qualities, the second movement is the anchor of Concert Piece. In sharp contrast the last movement is by turns dance-like and energetic or fluid and sustained. Its form is a kind of modified sonata-allegro form in which the two theme-groups change places in the recapitulation so that the movement can end as it began.
Version: four flutes
Year composed: 1985
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Flute Ensembles
Instrumentation: 4 Flute
Instrumentation notes: Flute 1 doubles on piccolo, flute 4 on alto flute.