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The title of the piece was taken from an article broadly discussing ensemble music which referred, flippantly, to music for ‘lute and flute’. I liked the rhyme and despite not being written for lute and flute, the piece borrows the arpeggiated plucking sounds often heard in lute playing, in the pizzicato cello sections. The sensibility, however, is not that of early music but is perhaps closer to some French chamber music from the beginning of the 20th century.
Within an arch structure, the piece explores cross relation between harmonies, making the recorder, at times, move swiftly through melodic cross-phrasing and major/minor interfaces. Hocket between the two instruments and their dueting accompanied by left hand cello pizzicato, are more static in quality, contrasting with the strong 3 bar phrasing movement of the other texture. The opening and closing sections, in which a bird call from my garden can be heard, are reflective in character and bring both ends of the arch to rest.
Little music has been written for alto recorder and cello yet the combination is well balanced and the sounds possible on both instruments blend and contrast effectively. Lute and Flute explores some of these possibilities.
Dedicated to Elizabeth Hassan and Deborah Coogan
20 May 2007: Performed by Elizabeth Hassan (recorder) and Deborah Coogan (cello) at the Mitchell Conservatorium in Bathurst, Australia