A Room of Quiet (2017)
flute (C flute, alto flute, and piccolo) and piano 9'
Commissioned by Cobus du Toit, flute, for We Bring Flowers
Texts excerpted from Dag Hammarskjöld’s pamphlet at the United Nations Meditation Room.
In sketching out this work, I went through a few texts about peace. A friend suggested Dag Hammarskjöld, who helped found the United Nations, and who was born in Sweden, where I happened to be going for a residency to write this commission. Dag wrote much more poetic works, but I liked how simple this text was and how even its description evoked self-reflection. Dag talks about the two main elements in the U.N. Meditation Room being a beam of light and a block of iron. I had the realization that this would be the perfect analogy for this ensemble: the flute can evoke the shaft of light, and the black mass of a grand piano is the block of iron ore in the middle of the room. And thus, the concert hall, or wherever this work is played, can also become a meditation room: a space that is open to thought and prayer, and hopes for peace.