• 0110/1000/perc/pf(org)/str(
  • flute
  • 15 min

Programme Note


Durko's new work, written at the invitation of the Nash Ensemble, was completed last year. It is scored for flute solo, with oboe, clarinet, horn, piano, percussion, string quartet and double bass. The pianist also plays a small electric organ in certain passages as a support to the strings.

Durko, who recently celebrated his fiftieth birthday, was born and lives in Hungary. After a musical education at home, he completed his studies with Petrassi in Italy. One of Hungary's most distinguished composers, his works are often played, and indeed commissioned all over the world. His music, from the largest (such as the opera, Moses) to the smallest piano pieces, share characteristics of fine sensitivity of expression and attention to detail that are equally true of him as a man.

Impromptus in F is built from brief melodic and harmonic ideas which are varied and developed at each reappearance. In the centre is a passage of great activity for the ensemble, dominated by the broad cantilena for the horn - this melody has been described by
the composer as being in F, and its tonal area is the centre of gravity in the whole work. (Use of such tonal pins is new for Durko, and this is the first work whose very name betrays this fresh approach.) The flute is silent at this moment: prior to which the music has exploited particularly the lower register of the instrument and after which more typically the upper register will be prominent.

The title, chosen with the same fastidiousness as that which composed the notes themselves, recalls those piano pieces of Schubert which share with it a certain classical poise in the expression of warmly human feelings, often thoughtful, but frequently full of gaiety and joy.

Lionel Friend April 1984