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Swans for Two Alto Flutes and Piano


In July 2020, the NeStern Duo (Kathleen Nester and Wendy Stern) commissioned a new piece for Two Alto Flutes and Piano, to follow up Sleepy Hollow for Two Bass Flutes and Piano which they had commissioned and premiered a few years earlier.

There was already a river-like flow of collaborations developing, as Sleepy Hollow had been commissioned immediately following Wendy's performance of Sonata (Spirit of the Hudson) for Bass Flute and Piano at a venue near her home -- only a mile from the Hudson River and right across the water from the legendary Sleepy Hollow Cemetery.

Thinking of an alto flute duo, especially in this context, I knew early on that the music had to somehow evoke or be inspired by swans. Swans have symbolized a broad variety of differing concepts throughout cultures and the creative arts. To me as a bass clarinet player and lover of low woodwinds, I see swans as large birds who are remarkably graceful and beautiful on a larger scale than other birds and waterfowl. How could swans possibly not be evocative of alto flutes?
last updated September 18, 2021