My husband directed a program for aspiring college students of German in Mannheim, Germany between 1985 and the early 2000’s. I became affiliated with GEDOK, an organization devoted to women artists. My flutist friend from this group introduced me to a fine recorder player, Stefanie Grundmann, for whom I wrote this music. This Sonata then, had its inception under a different guise. The underlying concept of birdsong, however, compelled me to arrange this work for transverse flute, since its capabilities were wider and the tone color and textures more varied. With my intense lifelong study of birds singing, with their winged riffs and unlimited high range, I sought to capture the pathos as well as the fervor of feathered improvisations on a basic two or three note avian theme!
A hallmark of my style is to include an appropriate musical or literary quote; in this score. In Movement 1, I combined the duality found in sonata form with the desperation of a ‘caged bird’ vying with the theme of a World War I song, “I once had a comrade”. Movement 2 transitions as an evocative feeling of redemption and hope, quoting the Gregorian chant, “Alma Redemptoris Mater”. Movement 3 presents “a singing bird”, as one reflects on a Chinese saying: “Keep a green bough in your heart and a singing bird will come. This movement is a variation on themes from the initial movement.
This music has enjoyed a good life, beginning with Ms. Grundmann as well as through such artist/flutists as Kendall Kennison at Goucher College and Deborah Robin at Connecticut Composers. Inc.
The score is available from the Publisher: American Composers Alliance (ACA), NYC: https://composers.com.
Available also from the composer:
Audio file: https://soundcloud.com/discover
under: Austin, Elizabeth R., Sonata for Flute