for Flute and Piano
for Tim Hagen
II) Delicately at first, with passion
III) Playfully maniacal
IV) Contemplative and forlorn
V) Aggressively, manic
Ben Corbin, piano
sonata is dedicated to flutist Timothy Hagen. Last year, Tim premiered
one of my scherzos for flute and piano:
he liked it but thought it was too short, and commissioned me to write him a sonata similar to that. I took this literally
and based the sonata around that scherzo (it is the 3rd movement). The mood of that scherzo is used to depict a gradual transformation
towards insanity: even in the most peaceful moments, the scherzo and the mood associated with it are inescapable.
The first movementís main theme is full of over-the-top cheeriness, as the protagonist is still in denial.
There are troubling signs interspersed, however, and the movement begins and ends with a manic and aggressive fanfare.
The second movement lets out some of the grief, but is still struggling to sound pretty and happy. The third movement
is maniacal in a playful way, and the flutist is beginning to welcome the insanity more than they are fighting it.
It is with this acceptance that the fourth movement can finally express much of the hurt that has been held within
for the first half of the piece: the fourth movement is the most introspective of the composition, and at its completion,
the flutist takes a short cadenza to decide how to react. The opening chords of the fifth movement
remove any doubt, and the protagonist is thrown fully into a bipolar mania, leading to an exciting conclusion.