In Winter Light (2004)
For Alto Flute and Guitar

Programme Note: John Buckley

In Winter Light was commissioned by John Feeley and William Dowdall with financial assistance from the Arts Council of Ireland. The work was completed in April 2004 and first performed in the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, Dublin the following month. It is dedicated to John Feeley and William Dowdall.

The title is taken from an image in the poem ‘Omeros’ by Derek Walcott and reflects the dark-hued sonorities of both alto flute and the guitar, both of which might be described as middle-range instruments. The fact that the piece was begun and mainly written during the winter months, gives an extra resonance to the title.

The work is in two contrasting movements Adagio and Con moto. The first movement is in the form of a dialogue between the instruments, with a constant ebb and flow of the musical material.

The second movement is faster, more regularly paced and rhythmically impelled. The main idea juxtaposes different rhythmic patterns in the two parts; the alto flute in semiquavers and the guitar in dotted semiquavers and alternating block chords with a walking-bass type figuration. A slower middle section gives time for a more leisurely reflection before a varied reprise of the opening material brings the piece to a brisk conclusion.

In Winter Light has been released on CD on the Celestial Harmonies label.