When asked by Nina Assimakopoulos to write a short piece for flute inspired by literature, my attention turned to the many depictions of Krishna playing the flute that one can see by strolling through the streets of my multicultural neighborhood of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York. Murali is the name of Krishna’s flute. In Hindu cosmology and tales, Krishna plays his flute at the first full moon of autumn. It is a very alluring, seductive melody, and it calls to the female cowherds (the gopis), who are all in love with Krishna. At the sound of Krishna’s flute, they come out of their dwellings and dance, surrounding Krishna. The dancing becomes more and more fevered, when suddenly Krishna disappears before their eyes. Soon they once more hear the murali, from a location just beyond the horizon. Is he calling them, or taunting them? The gopis can never decide, but Krishna is always in their hearts.
Nina’s recorded performance of Murali can be heard on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/AQoktA-3hQE
As a flutist myself, I have always valued a varied yet concise piece for the solo flute, and have written several over the years, including one for alto flute (Lament) and another for Native American flute (Phantom Breeze). Murali, as well as my solo pieces Encounter and Phantom Breeze, are featured in the new anthology published by ACA, which publishes and distributes all of my compositions featuring the flute family. (Murali and Encounter are available separately as well, and Phantom Breeze is available in the two-part Wind Songs.) My bio and worklist are here: https://composers.com/composers/marilyn-bliss
For more on this new ACA publication featuring solo works by several distinguished women composers who have been members of New York Women Composers, see Simon Berry’s article in this month’s Flute Examiner.