I composed this short piece between March and June 2012, after I had read the third of Rilke’s “Sonnets to Orpheus”. I decided to write for piccolo because of the poem’s references to breath and breathing, which also give the piece its title.
Two types of music – the first dynamic and in constant flux, the second (which features an extensive use of harmonics) static and unchanging – are juxtaposed throughout. For, as the sonnet tells us, “Where two heart’s arteries/ intersect, there stands no temple to Apollo”.
The piece is intended as a brief commentary on music’s power to communicate profoundly with the human soul and on the way it achieves this: “Singing, as you teach us, isn’t desiring,/ nor luring something conquered in the end./ Singing is being.” It is also a tribute to the technique and musicality of Matteo Cesari, to whom the piece is dedicated.