Songs Before Winter (download)
Flute and piano – 6′
(1996, rev. 2016)
Premiere—1997 by Michele Frisch and Charles Kemper
Songs Before Winter was written in 1996 on a little informal commission from my father, John Thomas, who taught flute at the Eastman School of Music for many years. He died in 2012, but I still hear his piccolo work on the radio on Eastman-Rochester Orchestra recordings of American music conducted by Howard Hanson. Dad asked for a recital piece, something that might grace the repertoire in the manner of Gaubert or Fauré. It is dedicated to the memory of one of his adult pupils. The two “songs” are connected by a brief cadenza, with the opening thematic material recurring later in the work. Since the music was written in the autumn, and its mood varies from warm and mellow to rather blustery, the title suggested itself. It was premiered by flutist Michele Frisch with pianist Charles Kemper in February 1997, and revised in 2016.