Sonata for Flute and Piano (2015)
duration: 22’
GRT • 181

score available from
Australian Music Centre

program note
I. distance to Ganymede: 628,300,000 km
II. ice crust: 150 km thick
saltwater ocean underground
IV. for those in peril on the sea

Sonata for Flute and Piano is written for Emma Sholl. It is the 7th in a series of sonatas undertaken in the new millennium. The work in 4 movements is a contemplation of the projected discovery in March 2015 of a huge underground ocean on Ganymede – Jupiter’s largest moon (also the largest in our solar system and unique in having its own magnetic field).

The 1st movement contemplates the sheer distance of Ganymede from Earth, a journey that would likely begin in excitement, but gradually slow in drama – the second half of the movement harmonically (or cryogenically) frozen in time. Supposing anyone actually made it alive to Ganymede, they would then be standing on an icy crust 150km thick. The 2nd movement ponders the seeming impenetrable scale of that. Extending the science fiction scenario a little further, even if we made it through the ice into the saltwater underground ocean, would we find life in the fluid darkness? It’s an alluring idea – given scope in the 3rd movement – but a long way from home and probably deadly. The final, brief 4th movement is a secular benediction for those in peril on the sea.