four flutes

Robert Morris

Program Notes

The night after a conversation in 1975 with Elizabeth Singleton at Naples Pizza (a habitat of Yale musicians) during which she asked me for a flute quartet, I had a dream in which four people were holding forth, each of them saying more or less the same thing but in different languages or dialects so there was little verbal communication and much gesturing. I awoke early realizing that my dream represented a model for a piece for four flutes, and, after cancelling my appointments for the day, I wrote Throughout (Anyway). The title came from another conversation I had later that day with the clarinetist, Roger Cole, who used those words as we parted.

Following the idea of the dream, each flutist uses his or her own pitch vocabulary to contribute to various musical gestures and textures shared by the ensemble. The piece is made up of 51 successive sections, each a distinct member of the set of all combinations of up to four flutes playing up to four different kinds of music. The middle section, flanked by silence, is the longest (34 beats) and contains music taken from other areas of the piece. The work's characteristic pacing is determined by the use of durations from the Fibonacci numbers.

Throughout (Anyway) won the first prize in the 1980 Pittsburgh Flute Club's "New Music Competition," and won the "Newly Published composition Award" of the National Flute Association in 1994.

Use this controller to hear opening of Throughout(Anyway)
(Elizabeth Singleton, Lori Laitman, Keith Underwood, and Frances Harmeyer, flutes)

Scroll down to see three score systems from Throughout(Anyway).