For millennia, composers have been using the flute as a musical symbol of purity, innocence, tranquility and peace. My hypothesis is that during the horrendous years of the Second World War, composers were consciously or subconsciously searching for a form or representation of musical peace. Perhaps therefore, it is not such a coincidence that so many flute and piano masterpieces were written during this period.
By presenting these masterworks alongside texts both from and about the time when the music was composed, a new light shines on the music, giving an extra power and depth.
Think of a passionate, climactic moment in a romantic symphony or concerto; the fury, the drama, the virtuosity… and then the storm passes, the anger subsides, the turbulence is over; what do we hear?
… very often, a simple flute theme
When I play these moments in the orchestra, I visualise a dove; after forty days and nights of rain and storm, Noah’s ark settles on Mount Ararat (Genesis 8:4) and Noah sends a dove out into the world to see if there is “peace”.