The hardest part about composing a piece like this lies in finding a title. "Suite" might seem apt for a series of loosely related works. "Six Pieces for Flute and Orchestra" could be even more precise. "Odyssey" was my first thought, when I'd planned to use descriptive subtitles from Homer. If I fall back on "Concerto"-which, over the centuries, has as many definitions as definers-it's from sheer practicality.
I don't believe that non-vocal music can be proved to "mean" anything precise, like Love or Death or Fright, much less Yellow or Tuesday or Lake. But sometimes it's helpful and fun to ascribe (usually after the fact) names to separate movements. Thus the six subtitles are 1.The Stone Tower, a studio at Yaddo where the music was written; 2.Leaving-Traveling-Hoping, made up of two short tunes surrounding a long poem; 3.Sirens, an ambling succession of melodies and ripples; 4.Hymn, an interlude for just five instruments; 5.False Waltz, a rollicking affair shaped like a pyramid (soft to loud to soft); 6.Résumé and Prayer is just that: a cadenza reviving briefly all the foregoing matter, and closing on a very quiet note.
The Concerto was composed mostly in New York City, Nantucket and Saratoga Springs, between August 2001 and May 2002