Six Variations on “Tom Bowling” (1987)

Instrumentation: unaccompanied flute

Duration: 5:00

Commissioned by Betty Hensley

Premiered at First Unitarian Church, Wichita, Kansas; March 29, 1987.

Notes: The piece is based on a 19th-century American popular song, “Tom Bowling,” which is said to have been a favorite of Henry David Thoreau. The nature of the thematic material led me to explore various 19th-century harmonic idioms, treating the flute rather like a bel canto opera diva. Betty played the theme on her antique boxwood flute, much like the one Thoreau owned himself, and the variations on a modern flute.

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