Flights (2014)

for solo piano. dur: 8'

i. of the R.A.F. (dur: 2') 

ii. of steps to Kunjapuri at sunrise (dur: 3'30")

iii. of fancy (dur: 2'30"')

Program Notes: Flights was written at the request of Robert Fleitz, a wonderful pianist and one of my dearest friends.  Owing to the closeness of our relationship, I felt impelled to write a piece that would not only be for him but in some way about him.  I chose to make a direct homage to his name by constructing it around the concept of “Flights,” a homophone of “Fleitz.” 

Each movement explores a different meaning of "Flights."  The first movement, “of the R.A.F.,” is inspired by the concept of mechanical flight.   One image that came to my mind when thinking of mechanical flight was the flight of the Spitfires, the iconic single-propeller fighter planes used in World War II by Britain's Royal Air Force (the R.A.F).

The second movement recalls a cherished memory from a visit to India.  Kunjapuri Temple lies at the top of a mountain at the foothills of the western Himalayas.  The temple can only be accessed by ascending flights upon flights of steps embedded into the mountain, which we ascended as the sun rose.  

The final movement, "Flights of Fancy," is purely an expression of musical whimsy.  In this movement, all material is derived from a fugal subject and countersubject, but the subject and countersubject are not presented in full until the end of the piece-- after the listener has already heard the development of those themes.  Fugue itself is another kind of flight - the word is derived from the Latin word "fuga," which means "flight" or "fleeing."