for flute (doubling bass flute) and percussion (1 player)
Ritual seems to be terribly important to human society. Even organizations of rationalists and skeptics have their rituals, albeit non-religious ones, to mark important events. In this piece I invite the listeners to imagine whatever sorts of (primitive?) rituals and ceremonies they wish, based on the titles of the movements and the nature of the music.
Imagined Rituals came to be written because I happened to meet two extraordinary flutists in the summer of 1999, both of whom play a good deal of contemporary music. The first was Kate Lukas, of the faculty at Indiana University, whom I met in London, despite the fact that her home in Bloomington and mine in Louisville are only about 90 miles apart. The second was Nancy Andrew, an old friend of my wife’s, who teaches at Youngstown State University. They both asked me if I had any flute pieces they could look at. As it happens, I had never written my obligatory solo flute piece as a student, but I wasn’t really interested in doing a strictly solo piece, or one with piano accompaniment, so I wrote a piece for flute and percussion instead.
The first movement is slow and mysterious. Each performer alternates between taking the spotlight and providing a rhythmic ostinato accompaniment for the other. As the title of the movement implies, the percussionist plays only wooden instruments. The second movement, after a slow introduction, is fast and brilliant, and features a variety of metallic percussion. A great deal of the flute writing in this movement is in the highest register, in accordance with the movement’s title.