Lush : for piccolo and piano
by Elliott Gyger (1993)
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Library shelf no. CD 1522 [Available for loan]
Although there are large numbers of excellent flautists around, the majority of whom also play piccolo to some extent, there is virtually no repertoire for the instrument. It is only in the last few decades that contemporary virtuosi have begun to emancipate the piccolo (as well as the other extra woodwind) from its limited status as a resource of added colour and brilliance in the orchestra, and to establish it as an expressive voice in its own right. There is now a modest body of music for unaccompanied piccolo solo; however, there is still almost nothing in the way of recital vehicles with piano accompaniment.
One of the central concerns of Lush is a conscious exploration of the various possibilities of the piccolo-piano combination, particularly in the area of register. The piece opens with both instruments in the bottom octave of the piccolo's range, while later passages contrast high piccolo with the piano's very lowest notes, and there are even points where the piccolo is the bass of the texture, with the piano above! Aside from these considerations, the biggest challenge in writing Lush was trying to make the piece justify its title (which preceded composition). In many ways, the music casts the piccolo against type: the warm, delicate low register is featured, rather than the shrill upper notes; the articulation is legato throughout and there is even a substantial amount of sustained, expressive playing. Structurally, the piece is quite straightforward, consisting simply of two statements of an extended melody. The first statement, prolonged, fragmented and ornamented in various ways, makes up the first three-quarters of the piece; the second, by contrast, is direct and unadorned, providing the key to the work in a tranquil coda.
Instrumentation: Piccolo, piano.
Duration: 8 min.
Performances of this work
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