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Capricci - "Hummingbird Romance" (2011)

For flute and clarinet in Bb

Premiered by Ensemble Dal Niente, Constance Volk on flute and Katie Schoepflin on clarinet, at MaiFest in Chicago, Illinois, May 11, 2014.
Duration: 5'30"


Curtis 2021 Ensemble - Augusta Read Thomas: Capricci (Hummingbird Romance) Calvin Mayman, flute; Yan Liu, clarinet

Program Note

Capricci "Hummingbird Romance" for flute and clarinet (a version for violin and viola also exists) is a whimsical, fanfare-like revelry of five minutes duration, which was made as a wedding gift for Michelle Pellay Walker and Paul Pellay. The world premiere performance was presented by Ensemble Dal Niente, Constance Volk, flute and Katie Schoepflin, clarinet, on May 11, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. John von Rhein, the main classical music critic of the Chicago Tribune, described Capricci as "an Aphoristic little gem in which a fluttering flute and clarinet danced, imitated, bumped and melded with each another."

Augusta said:

"CAPRICCI, like all my music, is influenced by 35 years of listening to Jazz.  For instance, Louis Armstrong with his groups in New Orleans ("Hot Five" and "Hot Seven") where, say, his trumpet and Johnny Dodds' clarinet are both improvising independently in the same register.

"Check out the Clarinet and Trumpet weave in the first 90 seconds of track 1, Heebie Jeebies, at Or hear any other recording of  "Hot Five" or "Hot Seven"."

Selected Reviews

Libby Hanssen, KC STUDIO, June 14, 2023Reviewed Saturday, June 10 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. Vibrant performance from newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
“Augusta Read Thomas’ “Capricci: Hummingbird Romance” featured clarinet and flute in duet, and was written as a wedding present. Like many a long-wearing relationship, the two voices are sometimes synced, sometimes responsive, sometimes, even, at odds, with bold chords and strong statements from the individual performers. The flute’s long exposition included droplet-like tones and both parts used flutter tongue effect, reminiscent of the territorial buzz of the delicate, iridescent namesake bird.”

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, The New York Times"Fluidity is a quality in much of Ms. Thomas's work, even as it retains the uncompromising angularity of modernism. Much of that has to do with her unerring ear for tone color and the ever-changing timbres she creates, which pull the listener along as surely as a traditional harmonic progression. Even in Capricci for violin and viola, performed expressively and with firm tone by the violinist Ari Streisfeld and the violist John Pickford Richards, she created unusual colors in the metallic pizzicatos and arrowlike crescendos that shaped the music's syntax."


John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune (October 14, 2014)

"Aphoristic little gem in which a fluttering flute and clarinet danced, imitated, bumped and melded with each another."


Flutist Claire Chase and clarinetist Joshua Rubin

To obtain examination or performance material for any of
Augusta Read Thomas's works, please contact G. Schirmer Inc..