Taking Chargeflute, piano, percussion (2012)
|Commission||Bienen School of Music, Northwestern University for Walfrid Kujala|
|Premiere||June 4, 2012; Evanston, IL; Pick-Staiger Concert Hall at Hall Northwestern University|
|Instrumentation||fl(pic, tamb, amplified)-1/2perc(tri, brake d, cow bell, cym, mixing bowls, gongs, clav, bng, timb, b.d, crot, vib, mar, tam-t, tamb)-pno(tamb, wind chimes, tam-t)|
Taking Charge is the latest in a series of works I have written for flute that span four decades. Others include: Modus Caelestis (1972), Canticle of the Evening Bells (1976), Black Anemones (1980), Soaring, (1986), A Play of Shadows (1990), Silver Halo (2007), and Looking Back (2009).
Taking Charge employs an expanded instrumentation including: Flute, Piccolo, (Tambourine), Percussion: Large Suspended Triangle, 3 Brake Drums, Large Cowbell, Sizzle Cymbal, Hi-Hat Cymbal, Large Suspended Cymbal, 2 Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls, Large Gong, Mounted Claves, Bongos, Timbales, 20" by 20" floor Tom, Pedal Bass Drum, 2-Octave set of Crotales, Vibraphone, Marimba, Piano, (Tambourine and Large Tam-Tam)
Framed in three contrasting movements, the flute, with its “take charge” character, initiates a wide range of primary musical elements that unfold and are developed throughout the work.
Movement 1 “fast forward...” (aggressivo), a fast movement for flute, tambourine, percussion and piano, opens with an assertive percussion introduction (18/16 meter) that establishes the movement's propulsive quality and sets the stage for the flute's initial and assertive ascending gesture along with the continuing interplay among the instruments of those primary melodic, gestural and rhythmic materials.
Movement 2, “a voice from afar...” (lontano e misterioso), a slow movement for piccolo, presents a solitary and singularly obsessive five-note chromatic figure played against a sustained and shimmering background of non-pitched percussion that includes, cymbals, triangle, steel bowls, gong and tam-tam. The forlorn quality of the piccolo music gently concludes quietly with a repetitive sonority in the piano and pitched percussion and a hushed piccolo playing a cyclical ever-distant “processional” music.
Movement 3, “Coming together...” (energico), a fast movement for both flute & piccolo begins with flute playing an extended series of ever-ascending sequence of phrases. Materials from the first movement combine with elements in movement three leading to an exuberant final Jig-like (movendo con gusto)section for piccolo.
- Joseph Schwantner