Andrew Downes: Sonata for Contrabass flute
The well known and respected British composer, Andrew Downes has composed a Contrabass Flute Sonata. As a composer of numerous works for flute and flute choir, this was an obvious choice for my a quality commission. I marveled when I opened the score of Andrew's work, and his understanding and use of material for the contra, even though he admitted he was not familiar with the instrument, as most composers are not. As we had spoke several times on email in a collaborative manner, I knew and trusted Andrew understood what would sound and what would not. But a performer can never be sure of what they get..... (too be quite honest). I was absolutely Thrilled and blessed when the score arrived! Mr. Downes set the piece in four movements and has created the work to feature the finest (and most challenging) qualities of the Contrabass flute.
The first movement is an Allegro and begins with a low moody theme on solo flute. As the piano enters the flute begins to explore registers and different tonal qualities. The opening returns to bring the movement to a close.
The Second movement is a lyrical haunting minor melody that brings to change colour, key and range. The middle section features the instruments cello-like qualities and has a serene emotional pace to its unfolding story.
The 3rd movement is an Adagio which pushes the capabilities of the performers breath control. The opening Beethovenesque melody has strong spiritual connotations and eventually develops into an obbligato for the flute. The second theme takes on a quirky rhythmic character that tones down, back into the opening material. Mr. Downes captured the true essence of this instrument's soul and ability.
The fourth movement is a robust Allegro that expands into short canonic segments and explores the upper limits of the Contrabasses tonal capacities.
A fantastic addition to the low flutes repertoire by a master composer.