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On deck, avec beret

I’ve begun sketches for the next piece, which I’m quite excited about. It will be a short concerto for solo flute, chamber winds, and piano. That’s a dectet, counting up all the players. Doesn’t that sound so very French and Neoclassical? I’m thinking Mr. Poulenc. I’m thinking Mr. Milhaud (sorry, JM*, I am). I’m thinking Mr. Stravinsky. Bouncy rhythms, weird diatonic harmonies, and bassoons pretending they’re trombones. I’m looking forward to this…

Our consortium is made up of ensembles from across the country, including:

Azure Ensemble (New York) — Susan Glaser, Artistic Director:
Boston College — Sebastian Bonaiuto, Director
Georgia Chamber Winds — Robert Ambrose, Director
Kennesaw State University (Georgia) — Peter Witte, Director
Louisiana State University — Frank Wickes, Director
Tarleton State University (Texas) — Jonathan Hooper, Director
University of Puget Sound — Robert Taylor, Director
University of Tennessee — Gary Sousa, Director
Valdosta State University (Georgia) — Joe Brashier, Director
Willamette University — Tim Robblee, Director

My thought is that the work will take that yummy French chamber wind literature of the early 20th-century as its starting point, twisting and bending the language of the genre so that as the work progresses, the 1920’s fractures and melts into more and more contemporary and modernist writing. That, and it should have a smoking solo flute part.

This all came about thanks to Robert Ambrose, Director of Bands at Georgia State, and lead commissioner on the project. Robert and I had good discussions about flute repertoire, chamber wind music, and on perceptions of the dearth of high-quality contemporary literature for the genre. Eventually we came up with this instrumentation as a giant black hole in the rep, and he made it happen. I just love this idea, juxtaposing the virtuosity of concerto, with the delicate intricacy and intimacy of the chamber ensemble.

We like France again, don’t we? I think I heard that idiocy was over, but I should alert Homeland Security just in case: some good Bordeaux and stinky cheese is in order.

*JM believes that all of Milhaud’s music sounds like honking geese copulating in a stiff wind. I disagree. Only most of it does.

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