"...walk now and then into the breath that blows coldly past..."
For flute and percussion
The title of the piece, taken from Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus, appealed to me for a number of reasons. The sound quality of the flute, its ability to navigate between extremely diffuse breathy sounds and pure tones, has always fascinated me. Beyond that, in it's original context the title is an exhortation to allow oneself to surrender completely to the creative process. Through such surrender, one can begin to grasp the interconnectedness of all things, including life and death. Indeed, the Sonnets themselves were “written as a grave-monument” to a young dancer who had passed away just before Rilke began their writing. Rather than treat this death as a dark tragedy, he takes the opportunity to embark on an exuberant tribute to life, an exploration of the boundaries between life and death.
This piece was originally written for flute and electronics, but I was never satisfied with the electronic part. When the opportunity arose to write a piece for the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, I decided to embark on a complete revision, removing the electronic part and adding percussion.
...walk now and then... was commissioned and premiered by Ecce Ensemble
This piece is dedicated in loving memory to my father.
To hear an earlier version, recorded by Margaret
Lancaster, please contact the composer
"O you tender ones, walk now and then
into the breath that blows coldly past.
Upon your checks let it tremble and part;
behind you it will tremble again."
R.M. Rilke; Sonnets to Orpheus I/IV