Theodore Presser, Carl Fischer, Boelke-Bomart/Schott/Mobart, Songs of Peer, and Warner-Chappell are distributors for Katherine's music.
Four Winds considers breath as integral to flute performance through the depiction of winds at different times of the year.
When asked to write a piece for the National Flute Convention in Phoenix, I envisioned a piece comprising several short movements. The idea of MASKS appealed to me, for a mask generally makes an impression quickly; its affect clear at a glance.
I have collected several masks over the years, and looked at many more in museums and art books of various kinds. Three of these movements reflect particular masks that I have seen, one is a generic type, and two are waiting to be constructed.
The three specific masks are: I A Haida (Northwest Native American) mask, of commanding presence; II a Huichol (Mexican Native) Jaguar mask, completely beaded with intricate flower patterns; and III, an African American death mask of great calmness. IV is a clown mask, and the last two are left entirely to your imagination.
Selection of 6 from 11 current videos
Masks for flute and piano no. 1.
Masks for flute and piano no. 2.
Masks for flute and piano no. 3.
Masks for flute and piano no. 4.
Masks for flute and piano no. 5.
The Medieval Suite was inspired by characters and events described in Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror, a history of fourteenth-century France. It was a violent, bitter century of extensive wars, and Ms. Tuchman sees it as something of a reflection of our own.
The first movement, 'Virelai', uses parts of a work in that form by Guillaume de Machaut, a French composer of that era.
The "Black Knight" was a violent British prince barred from his beloved field of battle by a wasting disease.
The fourteenth century was a low point for the Catholic Church with warring Popes in Rome and Avignon, and 'the Drunken Friar' was apparently a common sight. In this movement I have freely adapted and embroidered a Gregorian chant and quoted a well-known round of the time, 'Sumer is acumin in'.
'Princess Isabelle' describes a daughter of the King of France who was engaged at the age of six, sent to England to live permanently, and wed at twelve - a common fate for royal children.
The 'Demon's Dance' was a desperate marathon dance done by some in hopes of avoiding the Black Plague.
Mark Crawford, Reno Gazette-Journal
A fine new work...The Medieval Suite realizes (its) inspiration in the language of Katherine Hoover, a language not to be confused with that of Aaron Copland, Walter Piston, or George Crumb, but equally as American as these. This is a short, uncompromising, sympathetic contemporary work.
Alfred de Jaeger, The Intelligencer (Wheeling, WV)
The highlight of the afternoon...Katherine Hoover's Medieval Suite is brilliant. Each of the five movements is exquisitely crafted, leaving the listener confident that a musical journey has taken place. Every note is placed with the same care exercised by an expert diamond-cutter, giving the work a discernable architecture which is very satisfying.
Norman Pickering, The Southampton Press
The writing is extremely imaginative and full of exciting instrumental passages displaying the composer's knowledge and skill...this is a major addition to the flute and piano literature, and every movement has a character and emotional impact that is rarely achieved in contemporary music.
Tim Page, The Washington Post
The program began with Katherine Hoover's "Medieval Suite," a five movement work dating from 1983 that was originally written for flute and piano. Hoover is herself a distinguished flutist, and so the idiomatic scoring for her chosen instrument came as no surprise. The suite itself has a stylistic diversity that is never merely clever; this is limpid, honest, attractive and appealing music, full of graceful melodies and the subtle "touches" of a natural composer.
Though flutes are found all over the world, the music they play is quite varied. This piece brings together three different styles of music. exploring the different sounds of flute around the world. This work starts its journey with gypsy music from Eastern Europe (Hungarian Lassu), then travels through a Hopi Lullaby of Native America, and ends with Dizi Dance in the style of Chinese folk music.
The music of the Gypsies of Eastern Europe is harmonically sophisticated and melodically adventurous. The czaradas, it's best known form, generally begins with a lassu that sounds, and sometimes is, improvised. The piano imitates a cymbalom, or hammered dulcimer in this duet.
The Hopi lullaby was notated by Natalie Curtis at Third Mesa sometime before 1905. Sounds of nature were an integral part of the music of Native America, and I have set this gentle melody with simple harmonics and birdlike sounds.
The dizi is one of the most commonly played flutes in China. The dizi dance uses patterns and records characteristic of much Chinese music, combined with shifting rhythms, syncopation's, and a swift tempo.
hammered dulcimer. Judicious piano pedaling and help to give this affect. Pedaling choices in II and III are also left to the player; however III should be played lightly, as the instruments imitated are generally plucked.
Cynthia Stevens, nfaonline.org Summer 2010 The Flutist Quarterly
With three different cultural contexts, Mountain and Mesa takes us through the music of the gypsies of Eastern Europe (“Hungarian Lassu”), the inspirational sounds of nature (“Hopi Lullaby”), and the plucky syncopations of the Chinese dizi flute (“Dizi Dance”). Katherine Hoover herself succinctly notes that “the music of the gypsies of Eastern Europe is harmonically sophisticated and melodically adventurous.” This first movement lies nicely under the fingers, plays sympathetically between flute and piano, and is easily comprehended. The “Hopi Lullaby,” with its bird-like calls, is perhaps a bit more rhythmically challenging with several tempo changes and mixed meter passages, but quite lovely and totally evocative of the hauntingly gentle Native American melody. My personal favorite, however, is the “Dizi Dance,” which tumbles gleefully forward despite the meter changes and pulses peripatetically toward its exciting syncopated conclusion. Bravo! I am only sorry that I did not have the chance to hear Mimi Stillman and Jeremy Denk premiere this work at the 2009 convention in New York.
When Chris Potter asked me to write a piece including both alto flute and bass flute, I tried to hone in on some of the special but perhaps less commonly heard qualities of each. The alto flute has its lovely singing quality; it also has the capacity to move quickly and easily. So I decided to feature that as well. The base, I felt, could show off that wonderful husky quality in a slightly off-centered tango.
In two sections one flutist plays both alto and bass flutes which is a departure from the ordinary.
Chris Potter also performed this work, 2006 winner of the NFA Newly Published Music Award, in Albuquerque, New Mexico during National Flute Association Convention.