Opus 501

Distant Glittering Orbs (2003)

for Alto Flute

Duration: 5.5 min.

Dedication: for Laurel Ann Maurer

Commission: Commissioned by Frederick Butler

Publisher: Musik Fabrik

Performance materials available from the publisher.

Distant Glittering Orbs (2003) for solo alto flute was commissioned by Frederick Butler and was written for and dedicated to flutist Laurel Ann Maurer whose brilliant playing was fully in mind during the composition.

The title of the work provides the poetic image behind its conception—imagining interstellar objects (suns, stars, planets) existing just outside of our field of clear vision. It is an intimate piece, yet exploring a conception of the far reaching beyond—making use of the alto flute’s distinct timbre.

The opening section of the work is slow and flexible—with a series of expanding and free-ranging chromatic gestures, exploring and augmenting sets of notes. A faster section occurs next—marked “glittering spirals”—consisting of sweeping gestures. A return to the original mood follows, and a simpler lyric melody emerges in a straightforward fashion (coming out of all the earlier chromatic excursions.) Finally, a few spirals from the faster music interject before an intimate and reposed coda concludes the piece.