Dolce Flutes: Spirit Flute - Michael Maxwell Steer
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Dolce Flutes: Spirit Flute - Michael Maxwell Steer

A Valentine Flute concert given at Wilbury Barn, Swallowcliffe, Wiltshire on 15 Feb 2020 by Dolce Flutes: Grace Callaghan, Hannah Clark, Cara Houghton, Emily Revill. Spirit Flute first performance MM Steer This is an arrangement I made for flute quartet of a piece I originally wrote for vocal quartet as a setting of a poem by the american Mary Oliver simply called Poem – whose opening words are “The spirit / likes to dress up like this: / ten fingers, / ten toes, // shoulders, and all the rest – / at night / in the black branches, / in the morning // in the branches / of the world.” [etc] It was from her obituary a year ago that I encountered Mary Oliver’s work, and was immediately moved to set five of her beautiful nature poems for acappella quartet in a way that really enhanced the words I felt. What I didn’t then know was that during her lifetime MO had caused it to be engraved on tablets of stone that nobody should ever be permitted to set any of her words to music. So that was the end of that. And indeed I got into a deal of trouble for having posted a demo of the songs on YouTube without copyright clearance. However thanks to my music writing program it is relatively easy to rearrange music, and to me flute quartet was an obvious alternative; so I had already transposed and adapted the pieces for flute quartet before the idea of this concert arose. Therefore it’s a real bonus that Dolce Flutes are able to give one of them a first performances. Cherubim Music Trust is a charity that loans professional-calibre orchestral instruments to advanced music students in the UK, aged 15-25, who cannot afford one that matches their ability. See http://cherubimtrust.org/

Valentine Flutes, 2020