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Pastorale and Fioritura, Op. 14a


[sample score]


Year of composition: 2022

Instrumentation: piccolo, piano

Movement names and durations:

I. Pastorale (5 mins)

II. Fioritura (4½ mins)

Total: 9½ mins

Related work: Songs to the Fair Youth: 6 Songs on Flowers, Op. 14


World premiere:

Karen Wong (picc), Lance Mok (pno)

2022 Jan 27・St Mary's, Aylsbury, UK

Pastorale and Fioritura are two instrumental movements, the second and the fifth respectively, taken from Songs to the Fair Youth: 6 Songs on Flowers. It is part of the composer’s project to set the complete Shakespeare sonnets into song cycles.

Pastorale is almost improvisatory and its different segments are held together by the Shakespeare motif, presented by the piccolo in the opening. Its repetitive emphasis on the bass note D evokes the drones customary of the form. The piece paints a picture of a warm summer day perhaps in an open but mountainous landscape. Fioritura is a set of reversed theme and variations on the Fair Youth motif. One note of the six in the motif is altered in each of the six variations and its original form only emerges at the end of the piece. The title is taken in both its literal meaning (florid melodic decorations) and derivative connotation (flower) to depict a journey of reinterpreting beauty and love. It opens with almost overwhelming flourishes set against the flower motif in the accompaniment playing simplistic harmonies. Variation by variation, the piece sheds its extravagance while the harmonies gain sophistication. When finally, the Fair Youth theme presents itself in its true form, its plain melody and nuanced harmonies almost radiate in innocence.  

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