Reflection for Flute and Piano by James Kulmer
“Reflection” is a contemplative and moody duet between the two instruments, which are of equal importance to the piece. As the title might suggest, it was written with themes of self-reflection, introspection and contemplation in mind. The listener is presented two different sides of this internal process via two opposing themes – with contrasting modal colors – successively presented and alternating in an extended binary form. The first represents a calmer, more sombre and hopeful version of this idea, whereas the second offers a realization of anxiety and agitation. Taking inspiration from the often diametric and contradictory nature of one’s thought processes, these ideas alternate, gradually intertwining and borrowing aspects from one another, until a chaotic flurry of anxious energy brings the rising tension to a fierce conclusion. In the aftermath of this climax, a dark and twisted version of the initial tranquility presents itself as the inevitable union of these two patterns of thought. Thankfully (for the listener!) this instability breaks apart, so that the conclusion to the abstract “debate” can reach a quietly confident resolution, signified by the recapitulation of the initial theme.