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––“Kisses, even to the air, are beautiful” (Drew Barrymore)
Of all the physical relationships between performers and instruments, that of flautist and flute most closely resembles that of the kiss. The shape of the embouchure itself, lips rounded in the shape of an “O”, ready to go to work, and the sometimes erotic, but always sonically evocative, use of the tongue in contemporary flute music thus became the initial inspirations for the composition of this work. The use of the “tongue ram” in the section “French Kiss”, for example, speaks for itself, whilst the lip pizzicatos and triple tongueing in “Vampire Kiss” are more abstract in suggesting the love bites of those creatures of the night with their sharp little canines. But, of course, kisses can also simply be fond, as in “Air Kiss” and “Peck,” or playful, as in “Butterfly Kiss” where I use fluttertongueing to mimic the tickling brush of eyelashes on a cheek. Kisses can also be completely chaste–even holy–as the quietly murmuring tremolos in “Kiss of Peace” suggest. Since many of my recent pieces employ symmetrical scales and symmetrically constructed background harmonies, I could not resist the impulse in the concluding section of the work to use those symmetries to create a musical parallel to that wonderfully symmetrical upside down kiss from the 2002 Spiderman movie in which Spiderman (inverted) and Mary Jane Watson (upright) share an iconic kiss in the rain. In the end, as the variety of kisses in my piece implies, the idea of the kiss reminds me of music in the kaleidoscopic flexibility of its meaning and how even the simplest of kisses or compositions might evoke the vastness of human experience. As Jimi Hendrix once said, one can even kiss the sky. For now I’ll just settle for kisses on the wind.
Commissioned by Roberto Fabbriciani
I. Air Kiss
III. French Kiss
IV. Kiss of Peace
V. Butterfly Kiss
VI. Vampire Kiss
VII. Spiderman Kiss
04 Oct 2012: Performed by Roberto Fabbriciani at the Hunter Council Chamber, Victoria University, in Wellington.