Concerto For Flute & Chamber Orchestra
1.(picc.) 1.1.1. 22.214.171.124.1. 1 perc. timp. pno. solo fl. strings (min. 126.96.36.199.1).
Duration: c. 20 - 25'
Please Note: This work is in five continuous movements and has to be performed as a complete set.
This work is dedicated in loving memory of Cameron's Mother, who's musical journey began on the flute.
Concerto For Flute & Chamber Orchestra explores the musical relationship between soloist and ensemble, with the intention to blur and reconcile these two forces. As part of the writing processes, I wanted to employ the blending qualities of the flute alongside the more agile capabilities of the instrument. In this substantial piece, I use the flute and chamber orchestra to explore how musical material can remain static whilst the environment surrounding them, whether that be textural or timbral, can alter the materials perception and personality. By allowing the musical material to be explored through different perspectives, I allow the ideas to evolve over the course of five movements, rather than having isolated ideas with little relationship to the overarching trajectory of the work.
Despite being in five distinctive movements with their own unique character, the music is based around two cellular ideas. The first is cantus firmus line presented in the solo flute, the second is a scalic figuration which is fully explored in the brisk second movement. The middle movements form a quiet crisis, where both the flute and orchestra feature their own solo movements, where the music reaches two perspectives on ‘static’ music. The fifth and final movement is the most ‘traditional’ when approaching the soloist and chamber orchestra, marked by a raucous timpani and percussion entry. This dramatic movement recycles, re-contextualises and combines the textures and themes from the preceding music to create a quasi rondo structure. The music works itself into a frenzy where the excitement of this concerto reaches a culmination, with the flute piercing climbing its way to the piercing, upper register. After this point, the music looses its identity and cannot return to what preceded it. The orchestration dissolves away only leaving a duet between the flutes working in canon over a gentle drone. This reveals the completed motto theme which formed the backbone of the concerto, where the orchestral flute shadows the solo flute, creating a hybrid melody. The concerto concludes peacefully where both the orchestral and solo flute are reconciled, cycling round the motto theme.
Concerto for Flute and Chamber Orchestra was written for the flautist Charlotte Ballard, and the Manchester Music Society Chamber Orchestra. They subsequently gave the premier performance, conducted by Robert Guy on the 25th February, 2023, in the Cosmo Rodewald Hall, Manchester.