Hans Abrahamsen's Flowersongs (1973) for three Flutes. Score.
'I wrote Flowersongs for three Flutes in the spring of 1973, when I was 20 years old. Looking back now, 40 years begins to feel like a really long time and sometimes I think that it is as if someone in 1973 is talking about a piece from 1933! But in spite of this long time, this is still a very important piece for me. In Flowersongs, along with works like '10 Preludes' for String Quartet and 'Stratifications' for Orchestra, I feel that I was on my way to finding my own voice in the middle of the music of the great Central European modernist tradition from the 50s and the reaction from the 60s of the new simplicity, minimalism and the possibility of poly-stilisme.
The English title Flowersongs links to the flower power movement and the hippie culture of the 60s and the early 70s, and the work is trying to find the power inherent in this imaginary world. Many of my later works have titles in German, for example 'Winternacht' (1976/78), 'Nacht und Trumpeten' (1981) and much later 'Schnee' (2006-08). If we think of Flowersongs in German, it must be Blumenlieder, and to me it now sounds suddenly very different, more romantic and into the world of Schumann. Perhaps it is also a way in which to hear the piece?
Another thing is that the correct English title is Flower Songs (as two words) and not as one word like in German or Danish. This is perhaps the German connection, as I incorrectly wrote the title as one word; but perhaps it is also a kind of naivety, which is also part of the work.
I cannot help but carry with me to this day the ideas from my early works. For example, there are clear links in this work from the 8th Prelude from '10 Preludes' and to Canon 2a from 'Schnee' from 2008. This work is written for the wonderful ensemble recherche and it was meeting them that made me consider making a version of Flowersongs for Flute, Oboe and Clarinet.' - Hans Abrahamsen