Honey Gathering Song (1989/1999)

for flute and piano or harpsichord or fortepiano

African Journal No 9a
Dedicated to Bridget Crowley
Bardic Edition Score and instrumental part BD 0554
Duration: c. 8'00"


First performance: Friday 28 April 2000; South Africa; Anne La Berge flute, Michael Blake pianoperformance details.
First broadcast: 14 May 2003; BBC Radio 3; Ixion

Programme note

Honey Gathering Song was originally composed in 1989 as a piece for dance (choreographed by Gill Clarke and titled For the Off). Revising it in 1999 as a concert piece I expanded the more interesting material and scrapped that which seemed less interesting. I approached the traditionally problematic medium of flute and piano by integrating the two instruments through the use of almost identical material and by bringing their timbres as close together as possible in interlocking or heterophonic textures. Pieces with the title Honey Gathering Song can be found among the music of the pygmy communities in Central Africa. While I make use of African materials and compositional techniques, generally filtered or paraphrased, there is no direct reference to pygmy music in this piece. The revised version was premiered in Grahamstown, South Africa in 2000 by Anne Laberge and Michael Blake. The piece also exists as a Quartet for flute, violin, viola and cello.

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Audio excerpt