Music for Flute and Orchestra – Detailed Description


Music for Flute and Orchestra, opus 11, is conceived as a one-movement work in six sections.

Detailed description by Lorin Maazel

First Section (Comodo), over a twelve-tone ostinato-motive, presents an airy (diatonic) arpeggio-like theme. Assigned to the tenor tuba is a virtuoso obbligato part in which this theme and its variations are echoed and elaborated upon in this section, as in the others, baroque-like ornamentations and flourishes embellish both the solo flute and tenor tuba obbligato parts – indeed, gruppettos, mordents and the like adorn a good portion of the orchestral writing throughout.

Second Section (Playful) is a hopping, skipping episode, with all instruments leaping rapidly in a jaunty, reveling spirit.

Third Section (Languid) is a dreamy sequence for solo flute, with tenor tuba, bass clarinet and solo cello obbligato and orchestra accompaniment.

Fourth Section (Song) is built on a wistful theme, a slow flow of notes which rises shyly only to fall away and begin again. It is set over alternating descending seventh and ninths.

Fifth Section (Cadenza), though sustained by the flute alone, does contain a tongue-in-cheek dialogue with castanets and on occasion a modest swoosh of a rain-tube.

Sixth Section (Finale) rests upon the repeated accents of a 5-1-3-4-2 rhythmic pattern, the main theme assigned again to the flute, with virtuoso “licks” given in turn to piano, xylophone, roto drums, and tenor tuba. The music accelerates as variation follows variation, the 5-1-3-4-2 rhythm slowing right before the final unison E with which the work ends.

–  Lorin Maazel


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