Pandora’s Waltz (2010)
for solo flute and orchestra
Commissioned by the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, Michael Hall, Music Director. for Bill Larsen, in celebration of 25 years of service to the SWFLSO.
Premiered on April 16, 2011 by Bill Larsen, flute and the Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Hall.
My days of knowing Bill Larsen stem back to when I first joined the Naples Philharmonic as a trumpeter in 1990. Bill was personnel manager of the nearby Southwest Florida Symphony in Ft. Myers, and would hire some of us from time to time to make the short drive north to do concerts with his orchestra. (Unfortunately, this practice was later eliminated due to a “competing orchestra clause” in the Naples contract). However, I would still run into Bill from time to time, most notably when I wrote a piece for his wife, Beth, and also when I gave a talk at the Florida Music Educator’s Conference one year. It was at these latter events that we noticed that we had similar tastes in styles of humor, and developed a fantastic friendship. So when Bill called me in Chicago (I had since moved) to inform me that there was a chance of having me compose a new work to celebrate his 25th anniversary with his orchestra, I was more than excited at the opportunity to do so.
Strangely enough – given both Bill’s and my penchant for humor – we had a rather difficult time coming up with a name for this piece! We threw different puns back and forth, trying to come up with something that both captured our friendship and some sort of flute reference simultaneously. To be honest, I can’t even recall how we arrived at the current title, which is actually rather ironic and typical at the same time!
The piece is oftentimes interrupted by an insistent, yet quirky, waltz. On occasion it (the waltz) almost gets stuck, like a broken-record of bygone years, only to be relieved by a frenetic scherzo. On other occasions, it becomes an eerie and somewhat sinister waltz. Duets in slower sections with solo strings (in the orchestral version) remind us of the beautiful lyrical qualities of the flute as well, qualities I was eager to highlight in Bill’s playing.
Premiere date: April 16, 2011. Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Hall.