for solo flute, optionally doubling piccolo and alto flute
Seven Haiku for Kathy was written at the request of my longtime friend and colleague Kathy Karr, principal flutist of the Louisville Orchestra and professor at the University of Louisville, where I also teach. I have written other pieces for her and for her to perform with her husband, Matthew Karr, principal bassoonist of the LO and likewise my colleague at UofL. I have known them since before any of us moved to Louisville, as we used to play together in a summer music festival in Mexico City.
It was Kathy’s idea to gather some pieces for unaccompanied flute to facilitate performances during the pandemic.
I decided to write a piece of several short movements that could be performed as a complete set or from which the flutist could select a smaller number. They explore a wide variety of textures and timbres and exploit a few of the “non-traditional” sounds at which the flute excels. (I use the quotation marks because some of them are actually pretty standard now).
The title “Haiku” just came naturally to mind: short poems that imply a much larger world than their simple images might immediately suggest. I have striven for that same concision and sense of something beyond the surface. Several different moods are explored. Some movements are serious (but not tragic) and others just for fun. The last movement was taken from a much earlier piece I wrote for the Karrs, Concertino `a Tre for flute, bassoon and piano, which they have recorded on my CD, Witnesses of Time.
I toyed with specific titles for the movements but ultimately decided to let the music alone speak to performers and listeners.