On Thin Ice

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On Thin Ice, program notes

On Thin Ice, for flute and guitar was commissioned by The Loop Group, a contemporary performance ensemble which was active in Chicago during the 1980’s. The piece derives its material from a series of improvisations created for several performance organizations in which I was involved at Ohio State University during the 1970’s.  The original material has been altered, developed, and recombined, using a recombined, using a tone row with limited transpositions and a scale with a pentatonic character.  The flute and guitar are both amplified in performance in order to enhance the sound properties of the extended techniques.  The title refers to several aspects of the piece: the risks involved in creating pieces through improvisation; the risks of juxtaposing several ideas in a short time; and the continuous forward motion necessary in skating on thin ice in order to avoid breaking through. (Janice Misurell-Mitchell)