Well-known American composer David Diamond received many accolades for his compositions, which include works in such diverse genres such as symphonies, concerti, chamber works, and vocal compositions. This sonata was written for Jean-Pierre Rampal (1922-2000) on the occasion of his 65th birthday and remains unpublished today. Frequently changing meters and a lyrical dissonance are elements of the characteristic compositional style that permeate the work. The caption for the fourth movement both illustrates Diamond’s sense of humor and acknowledges the moments of disjunction between the two instruments; the piano and flute do eventually reunite to complete the work with a resounding flourish.
A student of Nadia Boulanger and Vittorio Giannini, Thomas Pasatieri received the first doctorate awarded by the Julliard School of Music at age nineteen. Best known for his vocal and operatic compositions, Pasatieri writes in a musical style highlighted by lyrical and tonal melodies. A 1986 commission by the Verdehr Trio led to the composition of a number of instrumental works, including this work for flute and piano, written in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Music Academy of the West. The use of whole tone scales and gentle chromaticism in the first movement, a lullaby-like rocking triple meter in the second, and a romantic, atmospheric flute melody in the Allegro vivace all combine to create a wholly enjoyable soundworld not unrelated to the many film scores on which Pasatieri has worked.
Emma Lou Diemer wrote her flute sonata in 1958, while studying for her Ph.D. in composition under Bernard Rogers. Diemer acknowledges a specific connection to Johann Sebastian Bach’s flute sonata in E-flat major (BWV 1031, 1730-34), which also features a Siciliano as the second of its three movements. Diemer writes, “The Bachian interplay and equality of the writing for flute and keyboard was uppermost in my mind, and also a lyricism and tonally uncomplicated style – though moving quickly through changing tonalities.” The first two movements have neoclassic ternary formal structures, while the third is in sonata form with a fughetta in the development section. It was dedicated to Mark Thomas, for whom Diemer also wrote a flute concerto. This is the first recording of this work.
Denis Bédard, an actively performing French Canadian composer and organist, wrote this flute and piano work while teaching at the Conservatoire de musique de Québec. The work was premiered by Barbara Todd-Simard, who also performed it on CBC radio. Bédard describes the work as having been written in his “usual chamber music style, which is very ‘French’.” Compositionally, the work is at times influenced by the style of Francis Poulenc, and the third movement pays an unmistakable debt to the first Gymnopedie (1888) by Erik Satie. The formal structures are clearly articulated and the harmonies are at times quite adventurous. Bédard acknowledges a “concern for immediate communication with as vast a public as possible” as one of his principal aesthetic goals; this enjoyable and challenging piece undoubtedly fulfills that ambition.
Julliard faculty member Samuel Zyman is one of the leading Mexican composers today, with an extensive catalogue of works including symphonies, concerti, chamber works, and the film score to The Other Conquest. This sonata, regarded as a major repertory piece and frequently performed worldwide, features technically demanding writing with particularly appealing rhythmic power and drive. Composed at the bequest of Mexican flutist Marisa Canales who premiered the work in 1993 with Argentinian pianist Ana Maria Tradatti, the work was published four years later. Zyman’s aesthetic concept for this piece was that it be “exciting, intense, and emotional;” he pairs a contemporary sound with formal structures that bow to the western tradition and a true partnership between the two instruments. With jazz-inspired syncopations, imitative counterpoint between the flute and piano, and an urgently-paced third movement he envisions as “reckless and insane,” Zyman’s energetic composition is a favorite for many flutists.
– Laura Moore Pruett, Ph.D.