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Flute Variations II

10/6/1968 - 12/4/1968
Written for and dedicated to Harvey Sollberger
Score copied by Nicolas Roussakis

“Variations II reflects a number of changes in the composer’s attitude and concerns during the five years that separate it from Variations I, most obviously in the matter of melodic writing. In the opening of the Variations I, for example, the melodic profile is predominantly angular and disjunct, using the instrument’s entire three-octave span; in the opening of Variations II, the basic motion is conjunct and limited to the lowest octave. Melodic motion is generally more bound to one particular registeral region at a time than in Variations I. Also noteworthy in Variations II is an emphasis on particular pitches as centers of focal elements in both the local and long-term articulation of the music. It is as if a new mode of musical speech were being fashioned here through the extension of our current musical language to include elements basic to earlier Western music and certain types of non-Western music. (I recall that when Wuorinen was writing the Variations II, both he and I were amazed and moved by the music of the great Japanese shakuhachi player Watazumido-Shuso; certain aspects of his music find their reflection here.)”

-Harvey Sollberger, liner note to recording of Variations I and II