Lawler & Fadoul recently gave the world premiere of Katherine Hoover’s Two Preludes for flute and marimba/vibraphone at a concert celebrating the composer’s 75th birthday as part of the New York Flute Club’s annual Flute Fair. We commissioned Two Preludes as part of our Gronica Project, expanding the repertoire for our instrument combination.
Katherine Hoover, who turned 75 in December 2012, occupies a special place in the hearts of flutists. She is a ground-breaking composer and inspiring entrepreneur–she forged a path for herself as a composer at a time when it was very unusual for women to do so, and ensured the success of her career by starting her own publishing company long before personal computers made desktop publishing commonplace. For the members of the New York Flute Club, she has the added attraction of being one of our own, a local girl made good, and we enjoy seeing her at concerts and other flute events around the city. None of that would matter, however, if we didn’t love her music so much! Her music engages our minds, moves our hearts, and excites our imaginations.
For all of those reasons, she was a natural choice to be one of the first composers commissioned by Lawler & Fadoul. We asked her for a set of preludes for flute and marimba and/or vibraphone, and we were so pleased to be able to premiere them at her celebration concert. How cool to honor a composer in her 75th year with not only some of her best loved pieces of the past, but with a hot-off-the-presses premiere. Actually, Two Preludes has not yet been published, even, so maybe “still-on-the-press” is a better expression.
The first movement, Uptown, is for flute and marimba, and has a fun, jazz-inspired atmosphere, with the flute and marimba trading the lead voice back and forth. Performing it for an audience (instead of in a practice room) really made it feel playful and exciting. You never know how a first performance will go, so it was very exciting!
The second movement, Out of Town, is with vibraphone and has a very different feeling…like a summer vacation upstate. Katherine had never written for the vibraphone before, and she was entranced by it, and wrote a gorgeous (and challenging!) solo for Paul in the middle of the piece.
A good time was had by all! Hoover’s Preludes will be featured on our upcoming CD, Prelude Cocktail.
PS. Katherine is the composer of one of the best-loved American solo pieces for flute, Kokopeli (you can watch my story-telling version of Kokopeli here).
PPS. Stay tuned for my profile of Katherine in the upcoming New York Flute Club newsletter. I will post it here once it’s available.