Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano cover

Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano

Inspired by a passion for the alto flute and its need for more modern solo repertoire,Andrea Graves commissioned Alexandra Harwood to compose a lyrical and technically accessible concert piece for alto flute and piano. The resulting Sonatina is an excellent addition to the recital and teaching repertoire featuring traditional and improvisatory sounds based on ancient Japanese imperial court music - Gugaku. The melodies are meant to sound improvised leading the music less constricted by preordained forms. Mokusou to Uta (Mediation and Song) uses elements of Gugaku'sslow and melismatic style with expressive pitch bends transitioning into a pensive melody based on Japanese scales and modes. Gugaku (Ancient Japanese Court Music) takes inspiration from the traditional court music setting where a solo flute with bells or chimes performs meditative melodies for theatrical dancers. Buyou (Dance) begins as a lively accented contrast to the first two movements, then closes in sudden reminiscence of Gugaku - fading out with a diminuendo over the piano's final crashing chord. 

Alexandra Harwood

Alexandra Harwood

Alexandra Harwood (b. 1966) graduated in Composition from the Royal College of Music and gained a Master of Music at The Juilliard School in New York. She was composer in residence and musical coach for the Juilliard Drama Division 1991-92, during which time she wrote for other theatre productions in New York and England. Commissions have been written for Ian Mitchel of Gemini, London; David Bowden of Pro Musica; pianists Eduardo and Felipe Browne; The Happy Prince (cantata for soloists, chorus and orchestra) libretto by Ronald Harwood, for Bedales School Centenary concert, St. John's Smith's Square, London; The Cardinal Brass quintet; the Off Centre Ballet company directed by Christopher d'Amboise at the Westbeth Theatre Centre, NY. Other works have included Dance You Monster to My Soft Song, a song cycle setting poetry by Andrew Winston and performed by tenor Charles Workman in his recitals at Syon House, London and Hunter College, NY; Untitled (voice and percussion) for Audra MacDonald at the Lincoln center; and most recently Sonatina for Alto Flute and Piano for Andrea Redcay Graves for premiere recitals in the USA and London. Commissions and performances in 2008 include include Saxophone Octet for the Tribune Saxophone Octet; Sonatina for the National Flute Association Convention in Kansas City, KS; Transform for St Paul's School in London; and a collaboration with artist Richard Kenton Webb for an exhibition at Djanogly Gallery in Nottingham, England. Ms. Harwood has received several fellowships and prizes including the Cobbett and Hurlstone Prize for Composition and the United Music Publishers Ltd. Prize for an outstanding composition student; Fellowship in Composition at Tanglewood Music Festival; Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Award, NY and the Henry Mancini Prize for Composition.