Wintry Pieces to Warm Those January Blues

Winter can be a challenging period in the best of times. Whether you love it or loathe it, these pieces will help you through the cold, dark months!

Katherine Hoover: Winter Spirits for Solo Flute

This is a terrific piece from the pen of Katherine Hoover. Her affinity with Native American music results in a freedom of writing that brings to life the picture she wants to paint. Here is music of the spirits rising up from the flute itself: the line meanders, rising and falling in cascades of notes in strange note patterns that are elusive and beguiling. You will need to have flexibility of timbre and a fluid technique to deliver all this but if you do the piece will certainly weave a magic spell – just as spirits usually do! 


Gary Schocker: Winter Jasmine for Flute and Piano

This is another atmospheric piece from Gary Schocker who knows exactly how to make the flute sing. There is more of the gentle pleasure of winter to be found here with the scent of the jasmine seemingly floating above a fluid accompaniment. There are some stronger moments too but these soon return to the wistfulness of the opening. The ending is beautiful with a long note held above simple piano chords. Lovely!


Cater and Norman: Winter Ayres Collection for Flute and Harp

The combination of flute and harp is always alluring and this lovely set of winter airs brings out all its colours. Inis Orr has all the lament you could expect from the winter, Hush My Baby and a sensitive transcription of Away in a Manger would grace any carol concert, Month of January twinkles with frost from the harp and When the Snow and Frost are All Over is full of hope. Winter at its stunningly beautiful best!


Laura Pettigrew: Winter Solstice for Alto Flute and Piano

This piece by the American composer Laura Pettigrew uses all the colours across the range of the alto flute to create the bleakness of the winter months. There is warmth in the sun certainly but from the stark solo opening, the wandering lines and sensitive piano writing give a feeling of loneliness before becoming more animated. The darkness returns culminating in a passionate cadenza. There are no contemporary effects here, only simple writing which really delivers a punch. Winter is cold and dark but there is always promise of that sun somewhere!


Antonio Vivaldi arranged Mel Oriss: Winter from the Four Seasons for Flute Quartet

This sparkling arrangement of Vivaldi’s Winter is great! As usual Mel Oriss has kept the spirit of the original by effective voicing of the four flutes, allowing the colours of each movement to shine through. It almost makes Winter seem like a good idea!

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