Nervosa was composed for flutist Patti Monson. Patti is an amazingly talented musician and I was very excited when she asked for a piece. Her only request was that it be a multi-voiced work for solo instrument, and I knew that also meant engaging her infinite variety of flute techniques.
Patti inspires me! She can play anything! During the summer of 2001 for example, I was composing Nervosa at Yaddo (an artist retreat in Saratoga Springs) and was fortunate enough to have Patti visit me to play through some sketches. I went to the piano and played a short melodic fragment with a four-note chord accompaniment. I was joking when I asked if she could play this and to my surprise she did it on the spot, with the four-note chord!
The work is something like a set of variations on an ascending scale-like motive (which begins the piece). Many ideas spring from the initial motive, and some develop into themes that seem to be quite distant from the opening material. I employ many of Patti’s colorful techniques, among them: pizzicato, tongue stop, multiphonics, sung notes, quarter tones, and whistle tones.
Nervosa is dedicated to Patti Monson.