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This piece was written for my sister, Abby, on the occasion of her graduation from Harvard in the spring of 2012. Abby is a terrific flautist, and she wanted a piece with which she might collaborate with her friend, the harpist Molly Singer. In preparation for writing this piece, while my attentions initially steered towards landmark pieces in the repertoire like Debussy’s famous “Trio” for Flute, Viola, and Harp, my attentions were increasingly drawn towards the virtuosic Hindustani flute playing of Hariprasad Chaurasia, whom my sister and I were fortunate enough to see together in Chennai, India in January 2011. This piece draws both its melodic material from classical Indian music (of both the Hindustani and Carnatic varieties), while preserving more Western instrumental technique and figurations.
The work adheres roughly to the traditional ternary “ragam-tanam-pallavi” form common to expansive pieces in South India. The first section emulates the freely improvised “alapana” section that introduces the raga of the work; the middle section features tight rhythmic and metric intrigue and knotty interplay between the two instruments; the final section is more melodic and, eventually, climactic.
The title refers to the terrible LI AGIBA, the ancient goddess of… younger sister-hood… 😉