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A Spell Against Air
for solo flute

Work no. 227


    It's the melody from the third movement of The Sea, the Dog, and the Bird, expanded into almost a half hour of music. The original piece was tiny and inspired by a Turkish children's song, while this is huge, and telling a considerably darker story, as it were – I like how the same melody could turn into two very different works.

    The six segments of the original melody are repeated several times in six different rhythmic modes; each segment then loses a pitch, and they're played again, in the same succession of rhythmic modes, for a bit longer. They keep losing pitches over the course of the piece, and the number of repetitions increases; towards the end, there are only a few notes, played over and over again, the music almost reduced to nothing. It's a sister piece to 2021's A Spell Against Water, another virtuosic flute solo. Both are satellites of earlier works (see Many Pink Butterflies for the origin of A Spell Against Air), both have ties with poetry – Water with Ancient Egyptian, Air with 20th century Turkish.

    Up to this point my 2022 pieces tended to be miniatures, or collections of miniatures such as Cansu; working on larger pieces was difficult because of my circumstances – those of a refugee whose home country ceased to exist. My situation seemed to be improving, though, and although things were still difficult, I was fed up with making a myriad of tiny pieces. This was the first large-scale work I completed in Istanbul.

    A Spell Against Air – PDF score

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