in flux / in flecks / inflects / influx

trio for alto flute, viola, and percussion, 2012

My goal for in flux / in flecks / inflects / influx was to create an iridescent, constantly shifting surface texture befitting the elusive charm of the “alto” instruments I was writing for. To that end, the piece is an exploration of fluctuating sounds. There are rarely any steady pitches in the work – rather, notes are constantly being destabilized through trills, tremolos, detuning, singing while playing, and so on. Much like the words of the piece’s title, these performance techniques add up to a relatively narrow sonic vocabulary of near similarities and subtle differences. The title’s pseudo-homonymic quality is also reflected in the piece’s aspiration towards a common timbral and gestural ground between the three instruments.

The four parts of the title offer a rough guide to the form of the piece. An initial series of short phrases punctuated by silences suggest a state of flux. The phrases are unfocused and varied, revealing different aspects of the instruments’ capabilities and pointing to any number of developmental possibilities later on. As the piece progresses, its scope narrows, and two successive sections focus on ephemeral, percussive “flecks” of sound, and on bent (inflected) sounds, respectively. Finally there is an influx of activity as the materials coalesce into a more continuous, climactic section, which is followed by a brief coda.

in flux / in flecks / inflects / influx was originally composed for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. The current revised version was premiered by Norrbotten NEO.

Norrbotten NEO
Petter Sundkvist, conductor