For Robert Dick

Pan Penseroso

Concerto for Flute and Orchestra

Commissioned by the National Flute Association, Inc


Pan Penseroso (2009) is a concerto for flute and orchestra in three movements:

  1. The Noise of Folly
  2. Prophetic Strain
  3. More is Meant (than meets the ear)


“Pan Penseroso” and the titles of its three movements are taken from John Milton’s great poem “Il Penseroso” (The Contemplative Man). The music aligns itself with this response to the poet’s earlier “L’Allegro” (the Cheerful Man). In my concerto the flutist Pan, like the mature Milton, casts a reflective musical eye on the world, renouncing all “vain deluding joyes”, so as to better hear the “Sweet Bird that shunn’st the noise of folly…”

Written for the master flutist Robert Dick, Pan Penseroso includes a number of procedures explored in his pioneering book “The Other Flute: A performance Manual of Contemporary Techniques.”

Martin Bresnick