“This work was co-commissioned by Nagoya Philharmonic Orchestra and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with soloist Claire Chase in mind. There are two versions of this concerto, one with orchestra and one with ensemble, with same solo part.
I knew that there will be two versions to this concerto while I was composing this work, so I focused on relationship between solo and orchestra: how the solo part would be related to the bigger orchestra and how the same part would also relate to the intimate ensemble. Each version should give a very different impression, even though the solo part is the same.
This concerto has 5 sections and the soloist uses 4 flutes: C flute, piccolo, contrabass flute and bass flute.
Then there will be an extremely active dance-like section with C flute, with a very vertical orchestra part – spiky - accentuated together with the solo flute line. There will be a part where the flute soloist plays while singing glissandi downwards, and the orchestra chords will melt into this sound. The effect was very dynamic when I have experimented with Claire Chase on Skype. It gives the impression that the flutist is playing into ring modulator and turning the nobs while playing.
For the piccolo section, I wanted to do something opposing the instrument. I wrote the piccolo part to be played almost entirely in the lowest octave of the instrument, while the whole orchestra is pitched above the solo line – extremely quietly.
This concerto has a proper cadenza. The only slightly unusual thing is that this cadenza is played on contrabass flute.
The final section is like a chorale. Soloist plays on bass flute, and orchestra plays gentle, lyrical texture with microtones, which are derived from a series of distorted harmonics shared by the soloist and orchestra - like the ghost of the whole concerto.”