Richard Lambert Music

Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra (Op.52b)

A concerto in three movements, for flute and small orchestra, with a mix of modal, atonal and diatonic styles

The Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra was completed in 2012, a free transcription of the Bassoon Sonata (Op.36).

Lasting about 13 minutes, it has three movements: Vivo – Larghetto – Allegretto con spirito. The work is lightly scored for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, strings (ideally 2.2.2.2.1) and two percussion players (bongos, temple blocks, bass drum, xylophone, glockenspiel and tambourine), and there is cross-referencing of motifs throughout the three movements.

The first movement is free-ranging tonally, continually developing the initial flute material – a neo-Baroque motif with prominent use of a minor seventh interval. The time signature is continually changing, predominantly between 2/4 and 3/8, to give a highly-charged rhythmic, and perhaps unsettled, effect. The orchestra converses contrapuntally throughout, developing numerous short motifs in a variety of ways.

The central movement is expressive, melancholy and desolate. The rhythm is more regular here – largely a steady 6/8 flow, but harmonically, the chromatic style is almost atonal to enhance this forlorn atmosphere. The movement explores the entire range of the flute, and the orchestra reinforces the bleak atmosphere, once again sharing melodic and rhythmic motifs with the soloist. It concludes plaintively with reiterations of the flute’s initial four notes.

The finale reverts to a more relaxed, and uplifting, mood. However, the prevalent augmented fourth interval prevents true stability and harmonic resolution. The flute’s initial scalic motif also has a mock Baroque flavour. This originates from a solitary motif (bar 202) in the first movement. In fact, these outer movements have numerous melodic and harmonic links to consolidate a sense of overall organic shape. Ultimately, the whole finale derives from its very first bar, and constantly develops this material.


Listen

This recording of Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra was produced using computer software called Sibelius: it is not a live recording.

Purchase

You can view and purchase the score of Concerto for flute and chamber orchestra from Score Exchange.

If you wish to listen to the piece on that website, select the ‘MP3 file’ link instead of playing the embedded score for better audio quality.

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