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Matins is a musical depiction of a mind coming into focus upon waking. As the cool quiet of the morning acts as a canvas that is slowly painted by gradual awareness, this piece builds from the inherently calm symbiosis of alto flute and harp into a more complex emotional picture as the developing themes explore moods of reverence, expectation, and bittersweet optimism.
From a flutist’s standpoint, Matins is an exploration of the alto flute’s personality, too often stereotyped only as low and velvety. While that is undoubtedly a trademark sound, the instrument is also capable of great subtlety and flexibility throughout its range. As the work unfolds, the rich presence of the middle register is unleashed, and the cool sweetness of the high notes is coaxed out of the arcing phrases.
The title refers to the first canonical hour, celebrated at daybreak. The Gregorian chant quoted as a second subject is from the Easter liturgy, however, and is used to express a sense of purposeful introspection rather than as any specific reference to ritual.
for Mary Ann Hudson
15 Apr 2005: Performed by Kimberley Hickey (alto flute) and Albinas Przgintas (piano) at the Trinity Episcopal Church, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA