In 2019, flutist Catherine Boyack led a consortium commission for a new collection of miniatures for flute and piano, each themed on one of her favorite flowers. The collection is called Bouquet and, as of this printing, contains three flower-movements: “Queen of the Night Tulip,” “Indian Paintbrush,” and “Mountain Bluebells.”
“Queen of the Night Tulip” is a deep violet, nearly black, heirloom tulip. And yes, this movement naturally, irresistibly plays with quotations from the “Der Hölle Rache” aria from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte.
“Indian Paintbrush” is a delicate desert flower with a sturdy stem, common in the Western U.S. Here, three flowers meet the sun as is rises over the stark, ruddy, landscape.
“Mountain Bluebells” are clusters of tiny, down-turned blue-violet flowers on thick green shrubs. Looking closely, the Bluebells themselves may move rapidly in the wind. Stepping a few paces back, the motion of the individual flowers is lost in the rustling blur of the whole bush itself. Here, we zoom in and out, in and out, in and out.
Bouquet is an “open-ended commission,” and other flowers will be added over time. All participants in the commission at any stage, as well as flutists who purchase the piece at any time, receive each new miniature, as the collection grows. And, in the spirit of arranging a bouquet, the performer may choose the order in which to play the miniatures, and which to omit. (Want to commission an additional movement? Contact me.)
With gratitude to the commissioners of this collection, I also dedicate it to my mother, a flutist and flute teacher, who instilled in me a lifelong passion for music and a love for the sound of the flute.