Flute & Orchestra
About the work:
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 establishes 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.'