Song of Sorrows : for solo flute and piano
by Kirsty Beilharz (2020)
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Library shelf no. CD 3173 [Available for loan]
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Score & Part [ePDF]
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This composition was written during - and in response to - the
2020 global pandemic. Not self-indulgent lamenting on the
inconvenient effects of isolation, economic downturn in
first-world society, and the threat to livelihoods and health.
Rather, this composition meditates particularly on the tragic
injustice of the pandemic for marginalised peoples, which (in the
case of some nations and communities) has resulted in avoidable
loss, death, illness, cultural obscurity, and lasting
devastation; for certain groups of people more than others.
People often comment (in haste) that a global pandemic is 'a
great leveller'; that it affects all people equally; that
contagion is indiscriminate. But even a brief reflection will
reveal that it is marginalised, often voiceless, peoples who have
been, and will continue to be, those most severely harmed: the
elderly; people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage; people
managing chronic physical conditions; people who are vulnerable
due to mental health; Indigenous first-nations peoples; people
with inadequate access to hygiene resources; or ethnically
vulnerable groups. The tragedy lies in the disease itself. But
more shamefully, unnecessary tragedy lies in the avoidable
decisions made - the opportunity to have acted sooner, more
compassionately and humanely in order to minimise consequences,
and to provide wise instructions and fair distribution of
resources (personal protection equipment, masks, civil isolation
and travel restrictions, abundantly available testing, etc.) -
rather than decisions motivated by capitalist greed.
This music is a deeply felt lament or eulogy for the lost and harmed, for the ethical sorrow of this event that will observed by generations to come. Musically, the evocation moves from the ponderous sorrowful, solitary voice to passionate and turbulent expression, covering a wide range of intensities and colours.
Instrumentation: Flute, piano.
Duration: 7 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Some extended techniques for the flutist: flutter-tongue, portamento, slap-tongue. Wide pitch and dynamic range. Some rapid phrases and controlled slow passages.
Dedication note: Dedicated to flutist, Molly Barth.
- Influenced by: COVID-19 Pandemic
Performances of this work
24 Dec 20.
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