Flutter - Thurídur Jónsdóttir

for flute, orchestra and field recordings of insects. 

Composed of four movements:

L’âme en bourgeon (The budding soul)

II Timbro verde mare (Aquamarine timbre

III Dans le flanc du roc (Inside the rock)

IV Le timbre des ailes (The timbre of wings)

In the piece, grasshoppers and crickets from the European continent play with the orchestra, but the utter of their leathery wings creates counterpoint with the flute playing that is at the work’s forefront. The four movements of the work create one continued action but the first movement, L’âme en bourgeon, is the longest of the four. Its title stems from the homonymous collection of verse by Cécile Sauvage, Messiaen’s mother, which also supplied the title of the third movement. In these poems written to her unborn son, she predicts his destiny as a musician, his love for the sounds of nature and exotic cultures. “I experienced the greatest influence on my life in the foetal period,” Messiaen is quoted saying referring to his mother’s poems. I chose the note B as the fundamental, the lowest note on the flute register. The material for the chords is borrowed from the natural spectrum of that pitch and develops mostly by darkening or lightening the spectrum. It was enjoyable and almost mysterious to discover that Messiaen’s name matched the main chord exactly: m–Es–Si–A–E–n (E flat–B–A–E). The work also includes quotes from Messiaen’s Le merle noir from 1952, one of the most important pieces of the flute repertoire.

The work was commissioned by the Iceland National Radio, Rás1, for the centennary of Olivier Messiaen, and premiered by Mario Caroli and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra directed by Rumon Gamba. 

Thurídur Jónsdóttir