Music for Flute and Electronic Sounds

for flute and prerecorded tape, 1987, duration: 13 minutes.1,7

            "Music for Flute and Electronic Sounds" was composed between April of 1986 and February of 1987.  The work was commissioned by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and is dedicated to flutist, Diane Gold

            As the title suggests, "Music for Flute and Electronic Sounds" explores the relationships between the flute - - lyrical, then percussive; sometimes sustained, other times in sweeping lines - - and electronic sounds - - sometimes pitched, sometimes more clangorous and bell-like.  The individual electronic sounds were designed and built using editors that are now readily available for synthesizers.   This made it possible to produce accompanimental sounds that support and blend with the articulation and timbre of the flute in a way that until recently was awkward to accomplish.  In addition to the electro-acoustic blending, the flute and electronic sounds also share compositional structure, both rhythmic and melodic.

            There are two musical ideas that are germinal to the pitch structure of the work.  The first is a four-pitch interval set (in two pairs) of descending minor third, intervening ascending major second, and concluding ascending major third.  This gesture is presented at the outset.  The second idea is a palindromic interval set (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1) which appears for the first time in measure 25.

            Formally, the work is in three parts.  Part One is used to introduce several musical characters, most of which are generated from the materials just mentioned.

            Part Two consists of a juxtaposition of two of these characters.  One is jazzy and is generated entirely by the synthesizers while the flute joins the electronic sounds in a serene chorale.  The flute additionally has the responsibility of interrupting the fast motion of the jazzy character so that the chorale can be heard.  

            Part Three recalls the first part but also includes a cadenza, which uses the serene character of Part Two as basic material.  After the cadenza there is a short section which again recalls the beginning.  The work closes with a cadenza-like flourish.


Christina Jennings, flute

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1 Published by Theodore Presser Co., Inc.

2 Published by Carl Fischer, Inc. = available from Theodore Presser Co., Inc.

3 Recorded by CRI. - available from New World CRI :  Catalog No. NWCRL484

4 Recorded by SEAMUS Recordings

5 Available from the Fleisher Collection of Orchestral Music

6 Recorded by Black Canyon Recordings

7 Recorded by Albany Records

T   © Larry Nelson 2017