Dances & Variations - Variations


Dances & Variations - Variations "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" (Movement 3 of 3) From Flute & Company, Flute Music by Katherine Hoover



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This is the third movement of a three-movement work. Entrata (first movement) may be accessed here, and Adagio (second movement) may be accessed here.

Dances & Variations (1995) was commissioned by Dr. and Mrs. James P. Carey and Marshall University for Wendell Dobbs. The flute and harp are both ancient and beautiful instruments, and their sounds complement each other in unique ways. I have explored some of these combinations in this piece. The light-natured Entrada has shifting rhythms in both instruments, and quotes some children’s tunes now and again. The Adagio is rather stark, with a measured ostinato in the harp and contrasting, rhythmically free gestures in the flute. These eventually come together in a slow, melodic section. These two movements comprise the “Dances” of the title, for they are both involved with various kinds of motion, and I would love to see them choreographed at some time.

The third movement is a series of variations on a lovely tune written in 1759 by Francis Hopkinson, a Philadelphia lawyer and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The song is called My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free, with a text by Thomas Parnell from Love and Innocence. The variations are rather “wondrous free” themselves, having been influenced as much by the words as by the melody, and moving far from the original, though returning for a straightforward rendition of the tune at the end.

My days have been so wondrous free, / the little birds that fly with careless ease from tree to tree / were but as blessed as I.

Ask the gliding waters if a tear of mine / increased their stream, and ask the breathing gales if e’er / I lent a sight to them.

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flute, harp, Flute & Company, classical music, chamber music


Arts and Humanities | Music | Music Performance


This movement is Copyright © 2003 of Flute & Company via Leonarda Productions and has been posted with permission. All rights reserved.

Wendell Dobbs, Flute Mary Kathleen Tryer, Harp Flute Music by: Katherine Hoover

Dances & Variations - Variations