Somers Picasso Suite, Etching for flute solo
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Last Thursday, February 7, 2019, I was fortunate to perform with Symphony Nova Scotia in Canadian composer Harry Somers' The Picasso Suite, in which there is an entire movement dedicated to the solo flute. This movement is called "Etching - The Vollard Suite" is No. 6 of the composer's work for small orchestra, and is based on music Somers wrote for a television production on the life and work of Pablo Picasso.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vollard_Suite and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbY3yO7DqHg
and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e18OTXDOyEE for some information on Picasso's Etchings. Google Picasso Vollard Suite images to see some of these works.
The form and structure of this solo flute work work brings to mind works such as Claude Debussy's Syrinx, Eugene Bozza's Image and Arthur Honneger's Danse de la chèvre, H.39.
I think it is a brilliant work, and the only one I am aware of where an orchestral flautist performs a movement of a work entirely on their own while sitting in the orchestra. I have often wondered if Harry Somers had a specific Etching in mind from Picasso's works and a particular flautist in mind as well as he composed this brilliant little masterpiece.