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Sea and Stone (2018)

Instrumentation: Piccolo, 4 Flutes, Alto Flute, Bass Flute, Percussion
Duration: ca. 7'
Commissioned by the Baltimore Flute Choir
Premiere Date: August, 11 2008, Orlando, FL

Program Note

Recently, I have been interested in studying the melodies, forms, and ideas of the Scots-Irish tradition, particularly as an erstwhile bagpiper and with Scottish ancestry on both sides of my family. I have been especially interested in those musical aspects that are ancient or ephemeral—their air of mystery is not only atmospheric, but also lends a flexibility to their interpretation, as we may lack their initial grounding and context. 

Sea and Stone is a fantasia on an ancient melody found carved into stone in an Irish castle. Snippets of the idea are heard in the first two sections, fragmented in a harmonically misty passage of broken chords and then hinted at in a section reminiscent of a slip-jig (a Scots-Irish dance in 9/8 rather than the more common 6/8 jig). 

The melody then is stated in full, with ornamentation, in a canonic passage between the lower flutes, with harmonic ripples echoing in the upper voices. This builds to a fugato passage, voices piling upon each other--half-heard, and half-remembered. The work returns to the slip-job texture, building towards a bright ending, as if looking across a shimmering horizon from a high tower. 

The work is dedicated to Laura Weatherington and the Baltimore Flute Choir, in particular recognition for her work as the founder of the ensemble. It was premiered on July 20, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland, and on August 11, 2018, in Orlando, Floria, at the 46th Annual National Flute Association Conference.

— Douglas Buchanan


Sea and Stone - Baltimore Flute Choir


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