This work is published for performance and study. The performance set includes a saddle-stitch performance score booklet for the pianist and a paperback part.
About the work:
The original version of The Snow Goose, for flute and orchestra, was completed in June 1982 and first performed on the 30th of that month at the Great Hall of the Christchurch Arts Centre by its dedicatee, Pamela Keightley, with the University of Canterbury Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer. The flute and piano version was written in response to a demand for an instrumental adaptation of the work following in the wake of Alexa Still’s 1995 recording with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Rearranging the orchestral score for flute and piano involved condensing the long orchestral introduction and effecting the subtle transition from orchestral to pianistic writing.
The composer writes: 'This is a gentle tribute to the goose which, together with Philip Rhayader and Frith, is a central figure in Paul Gallico’s classic story of the Second World War, The Snow Goose. This feathered wanderer from Canada, rescued from the marshes of Essex by Frith, tamed and befriended by Rhayader, follows his boat as far as the beaches of Dunkirk.
'The music initially creates a mood of uneasy peace, such as prevailed during the early months of the war. The snow goose, tamed during its regular returns every spring to Rhayader’s lighthouse, and Frith, ‘a child no longer’, have become central to the older man’s world.
'An extended solo for flute depicts the bird’s flight and its serenity, to be interrupted by sounds of war and imminent tragedy as Rhayader takes his yacht with the snow goose circling above to help in the evacuation of British troops. Rescued soldiers would swear that if you saw the bird, you would eventually be saved.
'After many return trips ferrying soldiers from shore to evacuation ship, both yacht and yachtsman perish. The bird wheels in salute and flies back to Frith, the empty landscape of the marshes and Rhayader’s crumbling lighthouse, subsequently to return to its native land.'