Huldah for Solo Flute composed by Mimi Stillman
Written for Flute alone
Includes flute part
I was inspired to write this work while in Jerusalem in the summer of 2012. On the southern side of the Temple Mount, where excavations have revealed remains from First and Second Temple times, there is a monumental staircase which used to lead to the entrance of the Temple. At the top of the staircase, two sets of gates lead into the Temple complex, known as the Huldah Gates. The gates are named for the prophetess Huldah, who prophesied during the reign of King Josiah of Judah, and whom she helped rear. Huldah, a relative of the prophet Jeremiah, ran a school for women in which she instructed them in the divine word. Her prophesy was sought while the king was purfying the Temple after the idol worship during his father and grandfather's reigns, and her words helped instigate a spiritual revival in the kingdom. Huldah warned the people that they would be destroyed for turning to other gods, but also offered a message of comfort to the king. It was thought that as a woman, her compassionate nature would enable her to intercede with the Lord.
Huldah is a meditation on inspiration, whose etymological roots reference both divine guidance and breathing. The flute, one of the most ancient instruments, is intensely connected to breathing and the human voice, and I sought to evoke elements of speech and song in my writing for the instrument. The architecture of the piece inscribes an arc, building to a climax via several smaller peaks, then calming down to an intimate close with the repetition of the opening motif in different tonalities.