• Thea Musgrave
  • Piccolo Play (1989)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Piccolo Committee of the National Flute Association

  • piccolopf
  • 14 min

Programme Note

The titles of the movements (L’Enchanteresse: L’Amphibie: La Pateline: Les Papillons: Le Reveil-matin: Le Bruit de Guerre: Le Turbulent) are all taken from harpsichord pieces of Couperin. In each movement, the piccolo is the protagonist of the title and the piano provides the 'setting' or the background. Thus in 'L’Amphibie' the piano represents the pool on which the frog leaps from leaf to leaf, disturbing the water as he goes. In 'Le Reveil-matin', the piano is the one who sleeps and the piccolo the alarm clock who forces him to wake. In 'La Pateline' (the wheedler), the piccolo is softly insistent, but ultimately becomes angry as his pleas are disregarded. The musical idea for 'Le Bruit de Guerre' was suggested by Manet’s 'The Fifer'. Here both instruments play march music with the piano also suggesting the bass drum and the snare drum accompaniment. The combination of different marches becomes increasingly anarchic and innocence (suggested by the portrait of the fifer) is overwhelmed. The end is silence with distant echoes of the Dies Irae.