The Flicker (Fine, Vivian)




MP3 file (audio)
rhymesandchymes (2017/2/27)

Publisher Info. Lisa Jaklitsch Westervelt. Used with permission.
Performers Lisa Jaklitsch Westervelt
Misc. Notes Live performance, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, April 28, 2016.
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Sheet Music


PDF scanned by Paul Hawkins
rhymesandchymes (2012/3/31)

Publisher. Info. Vivian Fine Estate
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General Information

Work Title The Flicker
Alternative. Title
Composer Fine, Vivian
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. IVF 26
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 1
Year/Date of CompositionY/D of Comp. 1973
First Performance. 1974-03-03 at Mills College, Oakland, California, Maquette Kuper, flute
Average DurationAvg. Duration 7-9 minutes
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Modern
Piece Style Modern
Instrumentation solo flute

Navigation etc.

“The flight is deeply undulating, produced by several quick beats and a pause." -Roger Tory Peterson

Bird-song is also heard, and flight and song intermingle.

—Composer’s Note to the Score

A flicker outside the window of her Bennington home inspired Vivian Fine to depict its flight, described by ornithologist Tory Peterson as ‘deeply undulating, produced by several quick beats and a pause.’ Bird song is often heard, and flight and song intermingle. The performer’s final gesture is to lift and turn her head and eyes, as if following an ascending trajectory which disappears into space.

—Leone Buyse, liner notes for “The Sky’s the Limit” Crystal Records CD317

Fine returned to birdsong for an unusual piece, The Flicker, for solo flute or piano right hand. Her flicker sings virtuostic lines that change continuously for this long six-page solo. One would expect some type of reuse of material to account for the multiplicity of pitches, but this is not the case. Fine reported that she "wrote what I heard," which was the imagined flight and song of this active bird.

—Heidi Von Gunden, The Music of Vivian Fine, Scarecrow Press, 1999


One of the finest additions to the 20th century unaccompanied flute repertoire.

—Michael Steinberg, musicologiist

This is an example of confident writing….Written at a time when Ms. Fine was largely immersed in ensemble writing, The Flicker stands out as an evident expression of lively rhythm and sturdy solo line.

—Betty-Ann Lynerd, Women of Note Quarterly, February 1997

Fine’s sense of the drama and humor are obvious.

—Richard Pontzious, San Francisco Examiner, January 10, 1983