The first movement is characterized by strong accents and motor rhythms. A wedged-shape opening theme is contrasted with a darker, smoother second theme. The movement has traces of sonata form though the structure is treated with freedom. A mysterious middle section builds to a climax, leading to a highly truncated and varied recapitulation.
In the second movement a florid flute melody contrasts with a heavy chordal motif on the piano. The somber mood is lightened a little by a higher pitched second idea that, nonetheless, has a rather sinister character. Towards the end, the flute part becomes freer in rhythm, like a small cadenza, and anticipates ideas in the third movement.
This final movement is connected to the second without a break, and is dance-like in mood. A quirky opening theme builds to a more robust second idea. As these ideas are developed a waltz-like section appears on the piano, contrasted with a more lyrical theme on flute. A reversed recapitulation of themes leads to a quicker coda, and the work ends with a flourish.
Invisible Waves, inspired by the Orewa Beach in Auckland, imitates the evening sea waves, sound of the seagulls accompany the sunset. The melodic material derives from a set of four-note A, G#, F, and D. The ascending scale-like motif appears several times to imitate the flow of sea waves.
Written for flutist Alastair McDiarmid at the 1982 Cambridge Music School, and premiered there the following year. This work utilises a wide range of contemporary flute techniques including blowing through the instrument, harmonics, flutter tonguing and various rates of vibrato. Certain intervals and melodic motives bind the piece together, in addition to the ‘pitch bending’ of the note C# which functions as a tonal centre.
Two short etudes written for flutist Alexa Still. Each etude takes a repeating pattern which is then varied harmonically or rhythmically; part of the challenge of the pieces are the wide leaps the flutist must navigate, as well as the off-beat rhythms of the second etude.