Concertino for Flute and Orchestra

Lita Grier

Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The title ?Renascence? (rebirth, reawakening, renewal) suggested itself to me not only because this was literally a rebirth of an earlier composition, a Sonata for Flute and Piano, composed in 1956 but, in addition, because as the first major work I have undertaken in over 30 years, this also represents something of a rebirth of my career as a composer.

The work was originally inspired by and written as an homage to flutist Julius Baker, with whom I briefly studies flute as a secondary instrument. One of the greatest virtuosos of his instrument, he was known for his sumptuous tone and dazzling technique. Thus this is a virtuoso piece that offers the soloist a wide range of lyrical expression and technical challenge. Although the solo part of the orchestral version remains nearly identical to that of the flute sonata, the orchestral part enlarges the original accompaniment with many new textural and coloristic possibilities inherent in the original score. In this connection I would like to than Ilya Levinson for his wonderful and invaluable guidance in overseeing the orchestration of the work.

In three movements with driving outer movements framing a lyrical Andante, the work is formally unconventional, following its own course with fluidity that elusively suggests sonata/rondo structure in both the opening and closing movements. At the same time, the materials of each movement continually derive from several basic motifs. In the unfolding of the first movement there are constant thematic spin-offs, including a strongly rhythmic variant of the opening, based on the opening flute melody as well as the accompanying figuration (A-D-E). The interval of the fourth keeps reappearing prominently as the material is enriched, with frequent use of counterpoint, imitation and development. A simple triadic melody, simultaneously in D major/minor accompanied by an ostinato, is the basis of the central section.

The second movement opens in a distant key with a gently rocking Siciliano in 6/8 time, over which the flute enters with an ethereal floating melody. In clearly delineated sections it develops and expands, leading to a strangely remote section in which the flute soars upward to its highest register, finally leaving the soloist suspended in a mysterious detached and quiet zone where time seems to stand still. A return to the gentle opening figure blossoms to a sweet climax before retreating on a enharmonic modulation to conclude the movement with reminiscences of earlier themes.

The third movement is ushered in by a series of brilliant glissandi in the harp, marimba, and flute driven by a motoric rhythmic figuration. As the sprightly principal motif enters, which begins on an off-beat, it is accompanied by ostinati in the woodwinds. During the course of the movement these ostinati will be taken up by many instruments and intermingled with both old and new material to create a constantly varying kaleidoscope.

Developed canonically, the sprightly motif segues into the second theme, a strange waltz-like melody, which was inspired by a passage in James Joyce?s novel, ?A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man?: ?notes of fitful music? going up a second, down a third, up a second, down a third? ?an elfin prelude, endless and formless.? This seemingly insignificant tune, chameleon-like, takes over the movement, continuously reshaping itself as it returns in a succession of new guises. Assuming a dramatic role, it moves to the bass instruments, where it supports a central section, heroic in feeling, heralded by the entire orchestra. Reappearing in the treble, in slightly altered form, the ?James Joyce? theme is tossed back and forth, peaking, then moving into a new tonal landscape. A second series of glissandi announces the return of the opening with its motoric pulse, which then propels the remainder of the movement, driving it relentlessly to a whirling conclusion.

Available on Rental

Scores & Parts

Sonata - Score - Performance

Additional Information

Composition Date 1996
Duration 00:11:00
Orchestration Solo Fl.; 2(Picc.) 2 2(B.Cl.) 2 - 2 1 1 0; Timp. Marimb. Hp. Str.


I - Allegro con spirito
II - Andante
III - Presto

Score Preview