Sonata for Flute & Harp

Sonata for Flute & Harp
Dan Locklair

Sonata for Flute & Harp was the result of a 2018 commission by the North Carolina Harp Ensemble for Jacquelyn Bartlett and Debra Reuter-Pivetta in celebration of the 2019 American Harp Society, Inc. Summer Institute. It is warmly dedicated to Ms. Bartlett and Ms. Reuter-Pivetta. Composed during the summer of 2018, Sonata for Flute & Harp is in three movements and is approximately twelve minutes in length.

Movement 1, Dance, is solely based on a tonal pentatonic scale: G, E, D, C, A. These pitches not only generate the melodic and harmonic material of the movement, but also define each of the movement’s five tonal centers. A three-part form, the gentle middle section, marked “Warm and Reflective,” is flanked by energetic sections marked “Rigorous.”

Movement 2, Aria, is the heart and soul of Sonata for Flute & Harp and consists of two related arias. Like Dance, Aria is in three primary sections. It incorporates the tonal pentatonic scale of Dance, but expands the pitches to form a Bb Lydian mode: Bb, A, G, F, E, D, C, Bb. These pitches and their resulting harmonies are clearly heard as they descend in the bottom voice of the harp in the first and third sections of the movement (marked “Warm & very expressive”). The middle section of Aria, marked “Dreamy”, is distinguished by echoing harp lines that form an equal partner with the flute, as the flute sings forth with the melodies of a second aria.

Movement 3, Jubilee, shifts the tonality of the original core pentatonic scale and further expands the harmonic palette into the Mixolydian mode: Db, Eb, F, Gb, Ab, Bb, Cb, Db. A rondo by design, the opening “Energetic & sprightly” section soon leads to a darker, lyrical phase of the movement. The spirit of both return in the third and fourth sections, respectively, before an expanded and brighter “Energetic & sprightly” section leads to the conclusion of the movement. Although the derivation of the word titling this movement is different, the spirit of the similar word, “Jubal”, is truly at play here. Known as “the father of all who play the flute and harp,” Jubal is celebrated in Sonata for Flute & Harp as both instruments, in virtuosic fashion, bring Jubilee to a rousing conclusion.

Dan Locklair
Winston-Salem, North Carolina

1. Dance: ca. 3’ 30”
2. Aria: ca. 4’ 30”
3. Jubilee: ca. 4’ 00”

Total duration: ca. 12 minutes

See a PDF copy of the score for Sonata for Flute and Harp.

Sound & Score (YouTube)