Sometimes the City is Silent

Sometimes the City is Silent for solo flute was commissioned by the National Flute Association for the 2003 High School Soloist Competition. This piece is based on a series of poetic and musical sketches I made in the fall of 2000 while I was teaching at New York University and living in Greenwich Village on the twenty-fifth floor of a hi-rise. When looking at the view at night I would sometimes try to read the outlines of lights (on bridges and in windows) and shapes on rooftops (water towers and cast iron ornament) as a kind of graphic notation; I would improvise flute lines based on these images. On nights when the windows were open I could hear the sounds of the traffic and people on Houston Street below; I sometimes improvised on these sounds, recorded them and also wrote short poems about them. On rare occasions there were times, usually for only a few moments, when the city was silent. This piece is about all of the above; it is dedicated to the spirit of the people of New York City.”
—Janice Misurell-Mitchell