Flute Concerto, 2017 (15′)
for solo flute and chamber orchestra (0.1.1.1 – 188.8.131.52 – perc. – strings)
When I was a teenager, and a very young composer, I loved concertos. And it makes sense: you couldn’t invent an art form that more literally reflects the adolescent search for individual identity, the sense of “me versus the world,” than the classic concerto.
Twenty-something years later, I’m far from an adolescent, but I finally get to write my own concerto. And the Flute Concerto recalls that youthful spirit in a few ways, particularly in allowing itself to be a Concerto, in the old, grand sense of the term. Despite the relative brevity of the piece, it goes through the three traditional Fast-Slow-Fast movements, pitting the orchestra against the soloist and featuring all the handoffs, tuttis, cadenzas, and other hallmarks that you’d expect from the form. Those little details are part of what makes writing a concerto fun, and I didn’t want to miss that opportunity — I’ve been waiting 25 years for this!
But the Flute Concerto is also about the less confrontational side of the flutist/orchestra relationship, since both of the flutists who commissioned the work — Alex Sopp of The Knights and Colleen Blagov of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra — are members of the orchestra that will play behind them. The piece begins with a series of conversations and partnerships between the flute and other members of the orchestra. These continue throughout the concerto, in dialogue with the more traditional approach, until by the end the piece brings the two together and the flutist can finally take a breath, and a well-deserved bow.
My deepest thanks to Alex and Colleen, and to Eric Jacobsen, for making this project come to life.