Composed by Deborah J. Anderson in July, 2012
For Flute Choir
Published by Alry Publications
Includes score and parts
Instrumentation: 4 C Flutes, Alto Flute, Bass Flute
The River grew from a simpler version (written for a friend for voice and guitar) into a work for 6-part flute choir, commissioned by the Flute Choir of the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra.
Many will recognize some of the words of the text as a centuries-old Scottish ballad called The Water is Wide, or Oh, Waly Waly. I bent the text somewhat, blending several versions and creating a more positive conclusion. From this new text, I composed a 21st century setting without first listening to any of the extant melodies.
Unabashedly and unapologetically romantic, this piece weaves the six flute parts into a tapestry of voices throughout the four verses. The first verse remains achingly simple, with flutes 2, 3, and 4 eventually joining flute 1 to swell the melody. I gave verse two to the rich alto flute, and verse three to flute 3 in a variation of the melody. Verse four returns to flute 1, supported by the other five.
Performers have many options as to how they might share the text with the audience. For example, verbally before the piece begins, during repeats of the first section, by different readers interspersed in the audience, creatively projected onto a wall or screen in sync with the corresponding sections, or simply printed in the program.
– Deborah Anderson
The River received its premiere at the 2013 NFA convention in New Orleans.