Cover 219 - Reflections - Solo Flute


Baroque, Folk, Tango, Jazz, Contemporary
10 studies in the rich and varied world of flute music.  
Harvey, David
solo flute
15 minutes
5, 6, 7, 8



10 original studies in style for solo flute.

From the composer:

These ten compositions for flute alone are in contrasting styles to reflect what I love about this special instrument and its long history. They contain echoes of some of the rich musical traditions that have contributed to the extensive repertoire for the flute.

The catalyst for this project came from an inspirational course run by Adam Dyer at London’s Morley College on jazz composition although only a few of the pieces in this collection have a jazz flavour. One challenge was to compose a piece using limited note selection, minimalist principles or other constraints. This prompted the composition Late at Night. Written in 3/4, Late at Night is based on a single whole tone scale and uses varied rhythmic patterns and melodic devices to shape the piece.

Similarly, In the Moment is based on a single pentatonic scale to evoke the haunting quality of Eastern meditative music as well as the timeless, universality of so much world music. The pentatonic scale represents a continuity with an ancient musical heritage that still resonates with us today.

A common practice in jazz is to compose tunes based on existing harmonic progressions. So called ‘contrafacts’ are a short cut to creating tunes that can be regarded as original compositions. The formula was used in early music and much later enthusiastically adopted by jazz musicians, notably in the be-bop era, to originate new tunes on well-established and popular harmonic sequences. Thus the chords underpinning I got Rhythm have been repurposed for any number of ‘new’ themes from that era.

The contrafact in this collection, All the Things You Might Have Been, takes the chords of Jerome Kern’s All the Things You Are and reimagines it as a mock-Baroque piece in a style typical of that period.

An early champion of the flute from the baroque era was Johan Joachim Quantz who published many pieces for flute including a collection for solo flute. He also wrote a pioneering treatise “On Playing The Flute” that provides a treasure trove of insights into playing baroque music and practical advice on performance. JJQ is dedicated to him.

The ballad, Way Above the Clouds, is altogether different. It conforms to a standard AABC structure found in many Great American Song Book tunes. In common with Floating in the Air and other pieces in this collection, it is predominantly diatonic. By contrast On the Edge explores a more atonal soundscape to create its own special mood.

Traditional Irish music is another tradition that showcases the flute extensively. Mayo Capers was inspired by a memorable visit to County Mayo and is inspired by traditional Irish music.

Tango for Astor is a more brooding piece that evokes the mood of the tango exemplified by the compositions of Astor Piazzola, a towering champion of Argentina’s traditional music. He is another composer who published a collection of solo flute pieces, Etudes for Flute, inspired by the rhythms and drama of the tango.

Bea’s First Waltz is a gentle, mid-tempo jazz waltz written for my first grandchild Beatrice. The waltz’s lyricism aims to reflect the transitory, carefree world of childhood.

If nothing else, I hope these pieces inspire a deeper exploration of the rich world of flute music.


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