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Parterre Designs

flute, percussion, harp (2021)

Live recording—8.7.21
Catherine Case, harp; Jennifer Rhyne, flute; Miho Takekawa, percussion
Lagerquist Concert Hall, Pacific Lutheran University

details

Duration: 11 minutes
Commissioned by: Catherine Case with support from The American Harp Society
Premiere: 8.7.21
Lagerquist Concert Hall, Pacific Lutheran University

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Score + parts — $40

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program note

Originating in 16th century France, a parterre is a formal garden laid out on a level area and made of enclosed beds separated by gravel. The beds often contain colorful flowers surrounded by hedges, with the complete garden specifically designed to be viewed from above, such as from the upper floor of a house.

As I worked on this music, steeped in the sparkling sounds of harp, flute, and percussion, I broke up the material into different short movements, each with its distinct mood, yet closely related to the other sections. I imagined scenes of various fictional characters wandering through a parterre—a couple in focused conversation, children running down pathways, and even a trio of skeletons dancing into the evening. As with a parterre, the striking feature of the work is intended to be the full twisting, eclectic sonic landscape.

Parterre Designs consists of seven movements with the following titles:

I. Slightly formal, with anticipation
II. Clattering (imagine dancing skeletons)
III. Frolicking
IV. Spiraling, pressing forward
V. Languid, bittersweet
VI. Clattering (a little tipsy)
VII. Melting