Island Nocturnes

flute, french horn, violin, viola, cello, and piano (2017)

premiere: August 9, 2017 at the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival>
duration: 13′


program note

Commissioned by the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival for its 34th Season with support from the New York State Council on the Arts, Island Nocturnes (2017) is scored for flute, horn, string quartet and piano in four continuous movements. Though the horn keeps trying to move the music in a noble direction, the nocturnes are mostly the stuff of sleep and dreams; emotion is magnified and logic is forgotten (the piano occasionally goes off the rails when it seems no one is listening). I’m a flutist myself, and had Marya Martin’s beautiful playing in my head when I was writing the piece. There is a lot of expressive, lyrical flute writing, fragile and anxious – in fact, the flute is often the protagonist, with the rest of the ensemble emerging and receding in shadows, echoes, and layers.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.”

– Prospero, from “The Tempest”