'Sleep's Borderland': Diana McIntosh explores the low flutes
The established and well performed Canadian composer Diana McIntosh has created a new work for a small ensemble of low flutes titled, 'Sleep's Borderland.' In the composers words, "The work consists of two movements titled, 'Fugitive Worlds' and 'Mind Parties' respectively. These contrasting movements explore the strange , mysterious, and disturbing, worlds between sleeping and waking. Constantly fluctuating moods roam through half- remembered , half imagined spaces, seeking a sense of peace." The movements are related in their thematic material just as recurring dreams are, and move in and out of focus often overlapping each other.
The work is quite skillfully scored for piccolo, four altos, two basses, two contrabasses, and sub contra bass flutes. Three of the flutists, exchange with occasional colourful percussion parts which consist of guiro, rocks and tambourine.
The piece opens in a dream hypnotic state (Fugitive Worlds) as long sustained pedal tones are held from opposing ends of the ensemble. The sounding of tapping rocks, reminds the listener of the tentative state of this developing and unfolding soundscape. As instruments enter with a simple trance-like rhythm, an alto plays/sings the open phrase. Rhythmic motion develops and the piccolo enters with a flurry of energetic rhythmic shapes. The piece finds form in its rhythmic shapes and drives forward to a quasi dream-like cadenza for piccolo and cleverly morphs into a lyrical trance-like duet for piccolo and alto flute 1. The movement ends with mystical and evocative whispering sounds, that invoke the return of the opening material.
'Mind Parties,' the second movement, finds lively eccentric music being tossed around the ensemble, which eventually recaps material from movement one in a beautifully set Dolce section. Intense rhythmic excitement returns and is accentuated with loud key clicks from the big flutes. The murmurs of whispers return and it is the piccolo which has the final melodic dream-like phrase.
The composition will receive it's World premiere on Sunday June 30th, 10:30 AM at the 2013 Canadian Flute Convention in Oakville, ON.