Oliver Knussen’s Masks for flute with optional glass chimes is an intriguing and unusual piece which explores the dramatic aspects of performance. It begins and ends of stage, and is a miniature drama enacted by the soloist, concerning the opposition of two character aspects which are defined visually on stage and also through other movements and gestures. Technically highly demanding and varied, with unconventional effects such as key clicks and flutter tonguing contributing to its colouristic make-up, this 8-minute work contains much to challenge the advanced performer.
‘A dramatic, arresting and ingenious compostion in which the soloist’s positions and perambulations as well as his notes are indicated’.
Andrew Porter (New Yorker), 11 November 1974