early 2010, piccoloist Lois Bliss Herbine offered me a commission to write a new
piccolo piece to premiere at that summer's International Piccolo Symposium. My
recent FLASH! for Piccolo and Piano had been performed at the 2008 symposium and
won the composers' competition, and Lois was eager to follow with another Dorff
piccolo premiere at the IPS. I agreed and requested to write for unaccompanied
piccolo, to add to that type of repertoire and to sound different from my other
for a musical idea that was uniquely piccoloistic (rather than flute music in a
higher octave), the robins waking me up early every morning in May provided
great inspiration, and one morning the opening theme and its contrasting theme
poured out quickly. The form and development became a lot of fun to compose,
with lots of elements of rondo, variations, and particularly using lots of
timbre contrasts as a way to make a full sonorous experience out of an
unaccompanied piccolo work.
knew from the start that the publication's cover art had to be a robin chirping
out animated eighth notes. While this indirectly alludes to the hummingbird
cover art on Lois Herbine's Crystal CD "Take Wing" which includes my Sonatine
de Giverny, it just is a perfect homage to the robins that inspired the
music, the animated chirping of the music, and an image that was born with the
music. The wonderfully charming cover shown below was created by my daughter
Julia Mieko Dorff, and was a very gratifying collaboration!
the music was published prior to the premiere, here are a few afterthoughts:
- The opening "strict tempo" doesn't mean it has to be at quarter =
124, it just means to play tempo giusto, rather than with rubato. It's fine to
go a bit slower (or faster) than 124.
- Bar 54 is just a poco cresc., perhaps to mf; better to save ff till the subito
ff at 63.
- Make the most of all the subito dynamics and timbre changes, that will make
the form very 3-dimensional !
Here's a complete
live performance by Gudrun Hinze at Gohlis Castle in Leipzig.
cover art by Julia Mieko Dorff