Dominic Sewell: Four Seasonal Poems


These four pieces for solo flute or alto flute were written while Dom was studying composition at the RCM with the legendary Joe Horovitz (who wrote lots of things but my first encounter with his work was Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo which we sang at primary school). My opportunity to perform it came via the York Spring Festival. They'd asked me for a programme of music linking music and text, and this one of the suggestions I put forward.

These pieces are poems in an abstract sense, rather than a literal one. There is no actual text, but the flute is asked to produce air sounds and articulated consonants, as well as some occasional singing. These extended techniques are always very well integrated into the overall mood of the music and never feel gimmicky; at times they give a sense of heightened drama, while at other times they bridge the gap between sound and silence.

The mood is generally calm, although the fluid semiquavers in Autumn present a bit of a challenge! I very much enjoyed learning these pieces; there is plenty of poetry in the expression, and the structure of each of the movements is also very clear, so for me there's a strong feeling of everything making sense. I like how much space there is for variation in tone colour and the integration of the extended techniques is also enjoyable from a performance perspective. I believe my performance was only the second there has been. It's a shame, as this is a set of pieces that deserves to be played more. If anyone eise is up for giving them ago, the score is available here

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