Gwyneth Walker

Idyll for Flute and String Quartet

(piano reduction available)

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Commissioned by the Andover Chamber Music Series (Julie Scolnick, artistic director) and premiered September 13, 2008 by Julie Scolnick and the Brentano String Quartet.

Idyll for Flute and String Quartet is subtitled "Songs of the Land." These are four movements which are bucolic in nature: "My Green Homeland," "Air," "Specks of Light" and "On the Wind." The music was created in the composer's studio on a dairy farm in rural Vermont.

"My Green Homeland" is the most melodic of the four movements. A simple theme in the flute is gradually surrounded by the strings. The texture is sparse and open, like a broad expanse of countryside.

The title "Air" has two meanings to the second movement: there is a melody (or "air") which is introduced in the flute; and this theme floats above the strings, perhaps as on a breeze. At the end of the movement, the theme descends in glissandi in the strings.

"Specks of Light" is a free-form movement, with delicate patterns of sound repeating ad lib in the strings. The flute material consists of short motifs, or "wisps of sound." At the end, the patterns rise into harmonics for the strings, and a final blurred filigree is heard in the flute.

"On the Wind" refers to a strong and constant flow of air, as the flute has much material to play. This is a lively jig intended to keep the energy flowing and blowing!

Notes by the composer