The Trinidad Suite for Flute and Viola
I spent a week in Trinidad at the Asa Wright Center, which is a remarkable place to see many different animals, trees, and birds of Trinidad. Each of the five movements from The Trinidad Suite for flute and viola represent different walks I took.
The Golden Maniken Lek, movement one, musically describes my observations of these small birds called Manikens doing mating dances. We watched five different male manikens performing the most extraordinary gymnastics to attract the female. The winner was able to be with the female maniken. We totally agreed with the female bird\'s choice of partner!
Movement 2, Song of the Sour Orange Tree, uses a melody that I composed when I was 23 years old inspired by Garcia Lorca\'s poem, Song of the Barren Orange Tree. When I walked by a sour orange tree in the forest of Trinidad I finally realized that I wanted to use this melody in a flute and viola duet.
Movement 3, Orependulas, loosely uses the melodies that the birds, Orependulas sing. These crow-sized birds are hilarious and and truly entertained me with their antics and amazing songs.
Movement 4, Mango John and the Wild Nutmeg Tree, is a comical, light-hearted song making a joke about the tree called Mango John. I had thought that Mango John was a man who lived at Asa Wright Center so when I found out that it was the name of a type of mango tree I found it funny. There was a huge Wild Nutmeg Tree growing next to Mango John so I thought that composing a humorous instrumental ballad would be appropriate.
The last movement, Movement 5, Running Down the Bellbird Trail, exactly imitates the song of the Bellbird which can be heard all through the forest. The Bearded Bellbird song sounds like an extremely loud anvil being struck at fairly regular intervals. These birds sit up in the top of very high trees and can be difficult to visually spot. I kept running on a trail called the Bellbird Trail trying to locate this great sounding bird, with no success.
There are very few duets published for flute and viola, which I find surprising because these two instruments sound great together!