Second Thoughts

Solo instrumental music by Robert HELPS


Second Thoughts (1977) [solo flute] — This charming work represents the true rara avis in Helps' output - a solo work not composed for the piano (nor even for another keyboard instrument as in The Altered Landscape). The title offers a pun on the pervasive interval of a second (major or minor) favored throughout the piece. (Helps would later dream of writing a satiric piece plagiarizing the twelve-tone organization of famous pieces like Berg's Lyric Suite - which he would call “Second-Hand Rows”!) Second Thoughts presents a challenge to a harmonically oriented composer like Helps; his insistence on intervallic formulae recalls Varèse's Density 21.5 with a lighter touch.

Duration: 3 minutes.

Yes, Helps could live without the piano as he proves in Second Thoughts for flute. He never composed at the keyboard, but often returned to the ivories to "check" sonorities.

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