• Yehudi Wyner
  • Sweet Consort (1988)

  • Associated Music Publishers Inc (World)

Piano score only, no flute part available

  • flute, piano
  • 23 min

Programme Note

Composer Note:
Sweet Consort for flute and piano was completed during the first days of April, 1988. The first performance took place in New York City on April 10th, played by flutist Wendy Rolfe and the composer. Wendy Rolfe had been the commissioner of the work through a NEA Consortium grant, joined by flutists Patricia Spencer, Harvey Sollberger and Robert Willougby. Four composers were chosen by this group with the understanding that each player would perform all four new compositions.

As I began to think about the project I kept close touch with Wendy Rolfe and Pat Spencer, asking them to suggest ideas they might have about the kind of music they would like to play: technical ideas, poetic images, whatever came to mind. From Wendy, early on, came the idea of the river with its vast, deliberate, confined yet eternal motion. The image stimulated an immediate musical response and the section entitled The River flows… was begun at once.

From Pat Spencer came different concerns. For one thing, she said she wanted above all to sing, to be a sustained lyric voice. Then at a later time she sent me a slender sheaf of poetry, selections from Anna Akhmatova and William Carlos Williams which especially touched her and which she hoped might move me as well. She chose well. Williams' work I knew and loved but Akhmatova became a new and precious friend, and one of her poems, The Muse, may have had a bearing on the opening movement of Sweet Consort entitled Invocation.

These collaborative ideas were starting points, but their importance should not be underestimated. They contributed a concrete and particular character to the music, shielding it from mere generalized music-making or excessive abstraction.

As to the other movements of Sweet Consort I might suggest that Song and Dance (original working title: Some Joke!) is a miniature vaudeville of mercurial character, with the comic elements always on the verge of collapse or hysteria.

Barcarole starts out pleasantly enough with flowing, mellifluous music in the French manner, but suddenly goes out of control into a manic realm of unexpected uproar.

The titles of the final movement — The River flows…the spirit darkens…a thousand regrets… — should guide the listener (the performers as well) to some inner worlds I had in mind as I conceived the music. Incidentally, it might be known that Mille Regretz is the title of a beautiful and affecting 4-voice "chanson" by Josquin des Pres, probably written in 1520.

— Yehudi Wyner

This item is available via Print on Demand from the G. Schirmer Library.

Playing Score: $13