Click the links below to hear each movement.
The two nocturnes presented here were composed over a 1-week period with the intention of providing some accessible material for small ensembles, and adding to the flute ensemble repertoire as a whole. In both pieces the melody and accompaniment are distributed intelligently amongst the parts so that no individual part is ever too repetitive, and all parts are of equal interest. The first flute goes between low C and high F# (F#6), whilst the other parts stay between low C and D above the staff. The key signatures are F minor and F major respectively, though there is a lot of harmonic exploration, resulting in a fair few accidentals. The pieces were composed with the intention of bringing to life the mood and ambience of uncertainty and fragility, which in the composer’s opinion is well expressed in the timbre of the flute’s lower and middle range. Both pieces were conceived from a single chord: for the first, the minor 6th, which sets the scene for a slightly darker, more melancholy expression of this mood, weaving slowly between various ominous modal tonalities including Dorian, Mixolydian b6 and Phrygian dominant, together with some minor chromaticism. The second builds from a much brighter chord: a major 7th with a #11, which gives the piece an airier and more open feel, owing to the accompanying Lydian mode. This then picks up into a more brisk and active flurry of broken arpeggios, and unexpected voice-lead harmonic changes, to give the piece a more restless feel, before slowing to peaceful end. It is the composer’s opinion that the imagery conjured up by each piece could be said to be that of a mist covered lake, the first piece conveying the lake by moonlight – still and eerie – and the second at sunrise – with the calm of the morning making way for the movement of the day.