Flutter, Pulse, and Flight (2018) by Charles Nichols
for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and computer
Earplay commission

Flutter, Pulse, and Flight is a meditation on love, illness, death, and memory. In the first movement, plaintive melodies are accompanied by fluttering trills in the accompanying instruments. For the second movement, delicate percussive pulses accompany wispy melodies shared between the instruments and computer. Textures in the third movement alternate between frisky interlocking grooves, accompanying stately melodies, and still suspended lines, punctuated with impetuous flourishes.

In his electroacoustic chamber music, composer Charles Nichols expands the expressive potential of the ensemble, with interactive computer music programming that applies audio effects to the acoustic instruments and samples the live performance to play back as accompaniment. For these three movements, the amplified flute, clarinet, violin, and cello are processed with modulation and delay effects, real-time spectral analysis and resynthesis, and live sampling and playback. The piece was commissioned by Earplay for this premiere performance.

— C. N.