Three Meditations for Alto Flute Solo by David Loeb
I. Autumn Snow
III. The Grey Sea And The Long Black Land
Autumn Snow was originally composed for an ‘alto’ shakuhachi (a fourth lower than the standard size. Reworking it for alto flute allowed expansion of the range and facilitated certain successions of tones, while preserving the character of the original instrument. This also facilitated a greater variety of ornamentation, although one should note that the final ‘falling off’ grace note occurs at the end of many of the ancient meditative solo shakuhachi pieces.
The opening of Winterscape comes from another shakuhachi composition, but otherwise this is a new piece, albeit in the spirit of the original. The use of harmonics should help to evoke that spirit. The implied polyphony will give that part of the piece a more Western aspect. It might be playable on a shakuhachi, but would sound forced.
The Grey Sea and the Long Black Land is the first line of a poem by the 17th century English poet John Clare. The poem begins as a nocturnal landscape, continues with a solitary boatman landing his boat, and ends with a rendezvous of lovers. The beginning of this piece follows the melodic line of a setting of this poem which I had made many year earlier.