a voice silenced...a voice sings (2021)
Medium: solo flute
A voice silenced…a voice sings is a work for solo flute commissioned by Flute New Music Consortium as the required piece for the final round of the FNMC Flute Artist Competition 2022. Composed during the later part of 2020 and the first half of 2021, in a time when it seemed like so many voices were being silenced, including most of our live musical performances, it melds motives, moods, and musings from two musicians who, on the surface, would not seem to have much in common: Hildegard of Bingen and Ella Fitzgerald. Separated by over 700 years, their lives shared a dedication to melody and an exuberant embrace of the possibilities of harmony. Both survived experiences in their lives that could have silenced their voices, removed the impact they would have on future generations, and relegated them to anonymity.
The unifying motives occurring throughout the piece are drawn from Hildegard’s “Ave generosa," and Ella’s scat solos from her 1962 recording of “All of Me” from the album “Ella Swings Gently with Nelson,” and “How High the Moon” from the 1958 “Ella Fitzgerald Live at Mister Kelly’s.” Throughout the piece, the flutist is asked to sing, sometimes alone, sometimes while also playing. It begins with a direct quote from the opening of Hildegard’s “Ave generosa” followed by the soft echo of a motive from Ella. This alternation of ideas continues throughout the piece. At times the motives are quite obvious and at other times they are more subtle in their appearances. Two lines are quoted in Latin from Hildegard's piece: "Ave generosa" which is often translated "Hail, noble one," and "O mater omnis gaudii" which translates "Oh motherof all joy."