AITKEN, ROBERT born 1939

PLAINSONG

 

DURATION: 6’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot preferred)

AVAILABILITY: Universal Editions RECORDINGS: Melbourne SMLP 4037

(CMC Record 295)

DATE: 1977 LISTINGS: RCMT ARCT, CS Advanced

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Like the plainsong of Gregorian chant, this piece is monophonic and without strict meter. It is, however, very much a contemporary work--a real showpiece of extended techniques for the flute. The opening melody is presented first in octaves sounding harmonically and then developed further with colour trills and multiphonics. The piece carries on with a rich array of timbral colour but refers to the opening melody frequently. Near the end the performer plays the plainsong melody in full while singing a fifth below as in the style of parallel organum.

 

Technical Challenges

The greatest challenge in this piece is in becoming familiar enough with the notation to be able to play the many special effects in time. The symbols are explained clearly in the legend, however, and the individual effects themselves are generally not overly difficult. The extended techniques include multiphonics, colour trills, whistle tones, vocal effects, harmonics, airy sounds, key clicks and stopped tongue. The most challenging of these are precisely pitched whistle tones and sung tones as well as some harmonics which must be adjusted for intonation. The simultaneously sounding octaves can be difficult to control. The piece is unmeasured but the rhythm conforms to a quarter note beat. The only difficult rhythms are quintuplets and septuplets over two beats. In addition to some unconventional fingerings, dexterity is needed for some slurred runs which include large intervals in an extremely disjunct line. The dynamic range is extreme and includes some sudden changes. The highest note is c#’’’’. Although provision is made for the piece to be played on a flute with a C foot-joint, I do not recommend it since the low B is often used when referring to the opening thematic material.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent opportunity to use extended techniques. Especially good as an introduction to multiphonics since many use regular fingerings. The special effects all work comfortably and well.

Effectiveness in Performance

Strongly contemporary style. Fascinating range of timbral effects

 

 

 

ANDERSON, JEAN born 1939

POLYGON for ALTO FLUTE and FLUTE

 

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENTS: Alto flute and C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1975

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

The overall impression is of two statements of a main melody interspersed with slower, freer sections incorporating such special effects as changes in vibrato, flutter tonguing, sudden dynamic changes, accents, harmonics, glissandos and key clicks. The piece opens with a free introduction played on the alto flute. The switch to C flute echoes some elements of the introduction before leading to the main theme of the piece. This jaunty, rhythmic melody uses all twelve chromatic pitches in angular leaps and varied rhythm patterns. The second part of the theme is repeated in inversion. This is followed by an alto flute interlude which evolves into the main melody in another key. The melody modulates again allowing for the same fingering as on C flute. The piece ends with a short, unmetered section on C flute recalling the introduction. Other than the unmetered sections at the beginning and the end, the piece is in 4/4 time. The tempo of the main melody is quarter = 84 while the tempo of the other sections of the piece is quarter = 72 with ritards anticipating instrument changes. The piece covers the full range of pitch and dynamics.

 

Technical Challenges

Unfortunately, the alto flute sections are not transposed. The full range of both instruments is utilized (written range c’ to d’’’’) but the highest notes are used with care allowing ample preparation time. Clean finger technique and a strong sense of pulse are necessary to give the main theme its dance-like quality. The notation is standard with the addition of a graphic representation of vibrato speed. The special effects are not extensive; however, the frequent glissandi spanning a third require great flexibility of the embouchure and controlled finger motion.

 

Pedagogical Value

This is a good piece for learning to change between flute and alto flute smoothly and for expressing the contrast in character between sections.

 

Effectiveness in Performance

This would be a good choice for an audition or competition since it allows the performer to show a range of technical and stylistic capabilities

 

 

 

ARMSTRONG, JOHN GORDON born 1952

CHILD’S PLAY

 

DURATION: 10’13" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1991

LEVEL: Difficult-Very Difficult

 

Musical Style

Child’s Play consists of five movements, each describing a specific aspect of early childhood. The movements, entitled "First Steps," "Curious," "Waking," "Mischievous" and "Sleeping," range in length from 45" to 4’. The compositional style is very changeable, even capricious, presumably to reflect the rapidly changing moods of a young child. Each movement has many changes of tempo, range, dynamic and melodic character.

 

Technical Challenges

This piece offers many challenges, even to the advanced player. The range extends up to d’’’’. There are many very fast passages that do not lie easily under the fingers and are difficult to read because of a combination of conjunct and disjunct motion as well as the mixture of accidentals. In fact the accidentals are used ambiguously, making it impossible to know how long accidentals stay in effect. The rhythms are not overly difficult, but the irregular groupings of notes and rests are difficult to count accurately. Among the special effects are flutter tonguing, pitch bending, whisper tones, harmonics, alternate fingerings, multiple sonorities and improvisation on given pitches. There are many indications that insufficient care has been taken in the writing of these extended techniques, for example: harmonics on a pitch for which no harmonics are available, multiphonics with specific pitches but no fingering, etc.

Pedagogical Value

Allows the virtuoso performer to explore all aspects of playing.

Effectiveness in Performance

Because of the programmatic nature of the music, it could be effective if performed with playfulness and imagination.

 

 

 

BARNES, MILTON born 1931

MUSIC FOR SOLO FLUTE

DURATION: 6’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 1830

DATE: 1979

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

This piece gives the impression of an extended jazz improvisation in swing style. It begins with a cadenza-like introduction leading to a very fast (half note = 104) meandering tune in swing rhythm. After a time the tempo settles down to moderato while still keeping the swing feel. Another cadenza leads to a return to both the tempo and the melody of the original swing tune. The melody soon diverges from the first statement and eventually the piece ends with a chromatic passage rising in both pitch and dynamic.

 

Technical Challenges

The main technical challenge lies in achieving the speed required while maintaining the nonchalant mood. In some of the large downward slurs it is difficult to make the low note speak. The cadenza-like passages are rife with accidentals and rapid changes of rhythmic groupings as well as changes of tempo and style. The full range of pitch and dynamic is used and there are many instances of syncopation and other off-beat accents.

 

Pedagogical Value

Useful introduction to jazz style, especially in terms of rhythm.

Effectiveness in Performance

Light, breezy and jazzy.

 

 

 

BEHRENS, JACK born 1935

FANTASY FOR SOLO FLUTE, OP.33

 

DURATION: 3’50" INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot preferred)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1963

LEVEL: Very Difficult

 

Musical Style

The musical style alternates between virtuosity and lyricism. As one would expect, the virtuoso passages tend to be high, loud and fast, but these phrases are also more apt to be articulated, often with double or triple tongued repeated notes. The lyrical passages are usually low, soft and slurred with a graceful lilt. The many meter and tempo changes add to the sense of fantasy by eliminating any sense of a steady pulse. Some of the more complicated rhythms achieve the same purpose.

Technical Challenges

Physical challenges are not as great as mental challenges in this piece. An extreme pitch range is used, from low b to high e’’’’ , but alternatives are given for the low b and notes higher than c’’’’. Despite the fast tempo (mostly eighth = 176) difficulties in dexterity are limited to a few very fast runs, one passage using many grace notes and a long run that is almost, but not quite, chromatic. The dynamics range from pppp to fff but generally are appropriate for the pitch register. Double, triple and flutter tonguing are used. The most difficult aspect of the piece relates to meter and rhythm. Many different unrelated time signatures are used and the meter changes often. The grouping of notes within a bar is not always standard and some rhythms are quite complex. In addition to these difficulties, there are many changes of tempo, some of which are sudden and extreme, e.g., eighth = 176 to eighth = 72, eighth = 176 to quarter = 208. To play the rhythm accurately, the underlying eighth note must be kept in mind, but, at the same time these eighth notes must be grouped into beats of constantly varying length (quarters or dotted quarters) in order to express the meter and phrasing. Quite a challenge!

 

Pedagogical Value

Definitely not for the rhythmically insecure. Very useful for working on sophisticated relationships of meter and tempo.

Effectiveness in Performance

Stylistic contrasts effective if played with conviction.

 

 

 

CHATMAN, STEPHEN born 1950

WILD CAT

 

DURATION: 4´40´´ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Jobert RECORDINGS: Opus One No.42

(CMC Record 250)

DATE: 1971

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

Wild Cat certainly has an untamed sound -- full of growls, hisses and frantic scampering. The dynamics are extremely volatile. Rapid crescendos and diminuendos from pp to ff are a feature of the piece, as are frequent sudden outbursts. The fast passages have a particularly uncontrolled quality. They are mostly sixteenth note quintuplets at quarter = 132+ so they are very fast indeed, but they are interspersed with numerous short rests and occasional normal sixteenth note groupings as well. There is a slower, slinkier section in the middle, featuring some non vibrato playing and downward pitch bends (the cat’s meow!), but it gradually goes back to the agitated mood of the beginning.

 

Technical Challenges

Considerable agility and practice will be needed to play this piece at the required tempo. The fast passages move along very quickly but unsteadily, and there are very large leaps and irregular slurring patterns with which to contend. Although the piece is unmeasured, the rhythm usually conforms to a quarter note beat (or an eighth note beat in the slower section), but exceptions to this occur often enough to make the rhythm quite tricky. Otherwise, the rhythm is not really difficult, but it is the tempo that makes passages such as the example above difficult. Virtually every note has an accidental (all the naturals are marked, even the first note of the piece), adding to the difficulty of reading the fast passages. There is one f’’’’ (with the option of d’’’’), otherwise b flat’’’ is the highest note. Extended techniques include flutter tonguing, air sounds, changes in vibrato and pitch bending. The difficult effects are the combination of flutter with air sound, abrupt changes between normal and air sound, flutter at very soft dynamics, and fast pitch bends.

 

Pedagogical Value

Very good for working up finger speed, but technique must be solid already.

Effectiveness in Performance

Very exciting piece. Contemporary style.

 

 

 

DÉSILETS, RICHARD born 1957

TEMPÉRAMENTS POUR FLÛTES

 

DURATION: 9 - 10´ INSTRUMENT: Alto flute, C flute and piccolo

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1992

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

This piece is extremely active and complex. There are very few rests or pauses of significant length. Special effects abound to the extent that there is scarcely a passage of "normal" playing. The performer plays in turn, alto flute, C flute and then piccolo. There are many tempo changes and changes of mood, marked "playfully," "meditative," "agitated" and so on.

 

Technical Challenges

Accidentals include many quarter tones. Some sections of the piece are in spatial notation with the overall duration shown in seconds. Other sections have bars of varying length, but without time signatures. The tempos are shown in relation to the quarter note, but the rhythms do not consistently conform to a particular beat. Dynamics cover an extreme range and often change suddenly. The use of extended techniques is very extensive and includes whistle tones, pitch bending, glissandi, harmonics, microtones, air sounds, tongue ram, key clicks, throat articulation, vibrato effects, bisbigliando (variations in tone colour), multiphonics, flutter tonguing and vocal effects. Some multiphonics are freely derived from a particular fingering, but others have specific pitches with no fingerings given. There are long bisbigliando sections with no fingerings, even some where no alternate fingerings are possible (i.e. lowest note on the instrument); these will have to be done with the lips. Sung pitches are often different from played pitches. Circular breathing is required for the piccolo section.

Other notes

A performance of this piece would require a significant devotion of time, in part because the alto flute section is not transposed. In addition, fingerings need to be found for the many specifically pitched multiphonics.

 

Pedagogical Value

Not recommended for students.

Effectiveness in Performance

Demanding for performer and listener

 

 

 

DOLDEN, PAUL born 1956

FOCUSING

 

DURATION: 7’30’’ INSTRUMENT: Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1982, rev. 1994

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

There are several ways in which the concept of focusing is expressed in this piece. There is a sequence of crescendos and diminuendos starting and ending with nothing and getting louder each time. There are alternations between the fundamental and different harmonics on the same pitch which create a shimmering effect when held. There is a fast, rhythmically exciting section of the piece which explores changes in embouchure as a means of focusing and unfocusing the tone and there are also reiterations of pitch with alternate fingerings. The result is a rich exploration of colouristic possibilities.

 

Technical Challenges

There are frequent meter changes among simple, compound, odd and irregular meters with some complex relationships and several tempo changes. Trills, tremolos and fast passages require dexterity. Some of the odd or irregular meters result in tricky rhythms and there are also rhythms based on quintuplet divisions of the beat (see musical example above), triplets over two beats, and a few other complicated rhythms. Articulation is mostly slurred with some large intervals. There are a few very long phrases. The dynamic range is extreme. The harmonics and alternate fingerings require attention to intonation. Some of the higher harmonics are difficult. Good control is needed for the embouchure changes.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to work with harmonics. Excellent for flexibility of embouchure.

Effectiveness in Performance

Contemporary idiom. Colourful and exciting.

 

 

 

DOUGLAS, PAUL born 1936

AEGINA

 

DURATION: 3´ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1971

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

The piece was written in memory of a dead friend and expresses poignantly the mixed emotions of sadness and joyful remembrance. It begins slowly, with a plaintive melody played pianissimo. After some development, the mood and tempo change into an allegro with the flavour of a tarantella; however the exuberant feeling is interrupted first by a slower melody similar to the opening and then by bursts of rapid repeating notes. The ending recapitulates the opening melody in a condensed form, transposed an octave higher. After a brief reference to the allegro section, the piece ends quietly.

Technical Challenges

Dexterity of finger and eye is required to negotiate several quick runs which include some unexpected accidentals, such as double flats. The tongue must be agile for the triple-tongued repeated notes. The rhythm includes sixteenth note triplets and quarter note triplets. Dynamics range from ppp to ff in all registers. Aside from the technical demands, this piece requires considerable ability to communicate various emotions and to change moods suddenly.

Other notes

Named after the Greek island the composer had just visited. He and his party were involved in an automobile accident after leaving the island. This piece was written for one of his companions who was killed in the accident.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to develop powers of expression.

Effectiveness in Performance

Moving. Traditional.

 

 

 

DOUGLAS, PAUL born 1936

YONG

 

DURATION: 4´ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1990 LISTINGS: CS 10

LEVEL: Difficult

 

Musical Style

Yong is written in a style reminiscent of French impressionism. It begins with a dramatic introduction of fff trills and flourishes. A much softer "Lento (espressivo)" follows. The core of the piece is a scherzo-like "Vivo" with a rhythm based on sixteenth-note triplets. This section begins rather mysteriously with pianissimo fragments interspersed with sudden outbursts. As the music gains momentum, the fragments connect into a melody alternating between repeated notes and stepwise runs. The piece ends with references to previous material.

 

Technical Challenges

While dexterity is needed to play the stepwise runs smoothly and evenly, the greatest challenge lies in the dynamics. There are many sudden and extreme dynamic changes as well as subtle crescendos and diminuendos. Although there are sudden changes of register, they are always articulated. Triple tonguing is required for the repeated sextuplets. The rhythm is based on sixteenth-note triplets with other rhythmic groupings occurring only rarely. There are several changes of tempo and mood.

Other notes

Named after one of the composer’s students.

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to use triple tonguing on repeated notes.

Effectiveness in Performance

Flashy. Good choice for an audition or competition.

 

 

 

DOUGLAS, PAUL born 1936

YSKOLA

 

DURATION: 4´ INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot preferred)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1976

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

A quiet, introspective "Lento" evolves with great subtlety into a fantasy on bird calls, full of trills and chirping. This leads to the main part of the piece, marked "Allegro molto," which sounds like an agile, energetic dance. There is much excitement in the repeated notes, the strong accents and the swooping up and down of the melody. The piece ends with fragments referring alternately to both the slow and the fast sections of the piece.

 

Technical Challenges

Whereas this piece is not overly difficult, it does offer some interesting challenges. The full range of the flute is used, from low B up to c’’’’, with many sudden changes of register (alternate passages are provided for flutes without a B foot joint). A broad range of dynamics is used in all registers, for example ppp on g flat’’’ and ff on low b. The demands on dexterity lie mainly in the many trills and a few fast runs and groups of grace notes. Staccato and accented tonguing is used as well as a variety of slurring patterns. Double tonguing is needed on the repeated sixteenth notes in the "Allegro molto." There are many tempo changes, some subtle and some obvious. Often there is very little time to breathe, but breathing places are marked meticulously throughout.

Pedagogical Value

Rare opportunity to use low b. Excellent piece for developing dynamic range and fp accents.

Effectiveness in Performance

Pleasingly tuneful.

 

 

 

FISHER, ALFRED born 1942

SWEET FOR FLUTE

 

DURATION: 12´ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1982

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

This piece has five movements. The first movement "Fluid; very freely" functions as an introduction to the rest of the piece. As the heading implies, it is like a fantasia in style. The second "Supple; liquid" and the fourth "Warmly; intensely" are slow and lyrical with smoothly connected phrases. The predominant dynamic level is soft although each of these movements has a crescendo in the middle. Both movements have rhythms such as 3, 5 or 7 notes over two beats which diminish the awareness of the underlying pulse and therefore create a sense of rhythmic freedom. The third movement "With driving energy" and the fifth movement "Bright; incisive" are fast, loud and highly articulated. Both of these movements feature frequent changes of meter. The resulting changes in accent patterns contribute to the excitement.

Technical Challenges

This piece requires a performer with a sophisticated understanding of rhythmic and metric relationships. 3:2, 5:2, 3:4 and 7:2 rhythmic relationships are sprinkled throughout the piece. The slow movements (II and IV) are metrically straightforward. III is basically in 6/16 with bars of other meters interspersed but the sixteenth note remains constant so the changes of meter are not too difficult. The first movement, however, has changes from 3/4 to 6/16 and then to 2/4 while keeping the sixteenth note constant, resulting in a change of tempo. V is even more complicated with the time signature changing in almost every bar from simple to compound to irregular meters and the value of the beat changing correspondingly. The other challenge is the large dynamic range complete with sudden changes and pp playing in the high register. Occasionally, flutter tonguing and semitone glissandi are called for.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity for an accomplished player to refine sense of rhythm and meter.

Effectiveness in Performance

Modern but accessible. Fast movements are rhythmically exciting.

 

 

 

FODI, JOHN born 1944

DOWN ENDLESS LANES WHERE CHERRIES FLOWER

DURATION: 23’15’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Large Tape 168, Part 1

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

This piece is inspired by a type of Scottish bagpipe music called pibroch and is based on its form. The opening urlar is made up of small cells that reappear in different order. This is followed by four variations, each with its own characteristic rhythm. After an altered restatement of the urlar (which may be omitted) there is one last variation, more fanciful than the rest, and then the opening is repeated. The composer likens the form of the piece to leaving home, taking an increasingly fantastic journey, remembering home before the end of the trip and finally arriving at the starting point again. In keeping with its Scottish roots, the melodies are highly decorated with grace notes. Each section ends with a freely sustained a’.

Technical Challenges

By far the greatest challenge in this piece is sheer endurance. There are no rests and no breaks. The pages must be moved with the right hand while holding the last note on the page, and the technical difficulties increase as the piece goes on. Considerable dexterity is required to negotiate the groups of grace notes quickly, lightly and smoothly. Nearly every melody note is preceded by up to four grace notes and some of the intervals are very large. Although there are no time signatures, the meters are obvious and standard except for the opening. The rhythm of the underlying melody is quite easy, except for the opening. No slurs are marked, but a written note says that any tonguing should be limited to the beginning of a grace note figure. It is sometimes difficult to find an appropriate place to breathe, especially in the last variation which is extremely active. Dynamics are left to the performer.

Other notes

As an option, the piece can be played with a barely audible A drone. This enhances the strong sense of tonal centre.

Pedagogical Value

A good workout for the fingers. Since each section has a unique and consistent character, a suitable tone colour should be maintained.

Effectiveness in Performance

Long but very beautiful. Traditional style.

 

 

 

FODI, JOHN born 1944

SEVEN FANTASIAS, Op. 13

DURATION: 19’40’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 871 (#5 and #7 only)

DATE: 1968

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

The shortest of these fantasias is 1’40’’ while the longest is 3’50’’. The movements evolve dramatically, becoming more free and more complex throughout the course of the piece. Although all the movements have changes of meter, the first two maintain a steady pulse. The third includes changes of pulse while the last two are unmeasured. The rhythm becomes more and more complicated, the phrases become fragmented, and there are more tempo changes as the piece goes on. The last movement consists of eleven events which may be played in any order of the performer’s choosing. The volatile dynamics are a unifying factor which give expressive shape to the phrases throughout the piece.

Technical Challenges

The final movement is the only one which goes higher than g’’’. It also includes an indication to play the highest note possible. Numbers 1, 2 and 4 have a constant pulse although the time signatures change often. No. 3 changes between simple and compound time signatures with an eighth = dotted quarter relationship. Although No. 5 has no time signatures, it does have bar lines indicating bars containing different numbers of quarter note beats; however, the placement of note groupings does not always coincide with the beat. The last two movements are unmeasured and do not relate to a common beat. Naturally, this increases the complexity of the rhythm. The frequent tempo changes in the last three movements also make the rhythm more difficult. The dynamics are very difficult, with the full range used in all registers and many fast changes. In all, rhythm and dynamics are a greater challenge than dexterity. Flutter tonguing, multiple sonorities (fingerings given) and harmonics are used only in No. 5. There is a key click in No. 6.

 

Other notes

These pieces are reflections on a short poem by the Chinese poet Lu Yu.

Pedagogical Value

The last three movements are particularly challenging in rhythm and dynamics. The first four could be handled by a less advanced player.

Effectiveness in Performance

Changes gradually from traditional to contemporary idiom. May be difficult listening for some audiences if played in its entirety.

 

 

 

FRENETTE, CLAUDE born 1955

...EST-CE MASQUE...

DURATION: 10’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot required)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

There are three movements, basically slow, fast, slow. The style is very contemporary with many special effects, extreme dynamics, angular lines and no underlying pulse. There are some beautifully delicate effects involving variations of tone colour within a given pitch and some sensitively shaped phrases as well as nervously agitated passages.

Technical Challenges

This is definitely a challenging piece. Accidentals include quarter tones. Meter and rhythm cannot be assessed in the usual way because the notation is entirely spatial, that is, there is no reference to standard note values. Dexterity is needed for the many, very fast, non-scalar runs and for the many non-standard fingerings. Dynamics are extreme and often change suddenly. Many extended techniques are used, some very difficult. Among the more difficult are radical embouchure shifts, such as tongue rams and blowing into the flute as if into a trumpet. Good fingerings are given where needed, but it will take a great deal of practice to make them fluent. The long glissandi are difficult to play smoothly (for glissando 4, the thumb must be on the B flat key). One flutter tongued passage is in the extreme low register and very soft (pppp!). Some whistle tones, harmonics and sung tones are difficult to find without a convenient reference. Some fingering changes are nearly impossible to do as smoothly as required.

Other notes

The title comes from a poem by Nicole Desrosiers reproduced in the score.

Pedagogical Value

Useful as reference for spatial notation and artistic use of extended techniques. Not recommended for student performance.

Effectiveness in Performance

Strongly contemporary idiom. Good variety in pacing and sensitive use of tonal colour.

 

 

 

GENGE, ANTHONY born 1952

GREY AND WHITE

DURATION: 10’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (open- hole required, B

AVAILABILITY: CMC foot preferred)

DATE: 1982

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

As its title suggests, grey and white is an atmospheric piece, with subtle effects and delicate colouration. The idiom is contemporary and many of the effects such as the breath accents, breath attacks and pitch bending suggest the style of Japanese shakuhachi music.

Technical Challenges

Although there are very few fast passages, dexterity is required for the many alternate fingerings used for quarter tones, changes in tone colour and unusual trills. These have been worked out carefully so that there are no awkward changes, but because the fingerings are not standard, they do require extra attention. The fingerings are clearly and accurately marked in the score. The rhythmic notation is very precise but the lack of an underlying pulse does create some difficult rhythms. Phrasing is not a problem because there are many long rests as well as many places to breathe in the longer phrases. The dynamic range is extreme. The individual special effects are not difficult but they are very demanding because of their extensive use throughout the piece. Breath accents within slurs, breath attacks without tonguing, hissing sounds, non vibrato, pitch bending, flutter tonguing, harmonics and finger glissandi all occur frequently.

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity for the advanced student to put contemporary techniques to use.

Effectiveness in Performance

Contemporary idiom. Subtle effects require attentive listening.

 

 

 

GOUGEON, DENIS born 1951

L’OISEAU BLESSÉ

DURATION: 4’30’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Doberman RECORDINGS: RCI 650 (CMC CD 31)

DATE: 1987 LISTINGS: CS Advanced

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Both the title and a short poem included in the score show that this piece is intended to represent the plaintive song of a wounded bird. There is another clue: a fragment of Papageno’s aria from The Magic Flute (played with the flutist’s back to the audience). The music tells the story very descriptively. One can imagine the bird trying to soar upward only to flutter dejectedly back to earth. Several special effects contribute to the bird-like quality, especially the microtones.

Technical Challenges

The range goes up to d’’’’. Although traditional rhythmic notation is used for the most part, the piece is unmeasured and the rhythmic groupings do not suggest an underlying beat. There are a number of accelerandos and rallentandos written by means of a change in the number of beams within a group of notes. Dexterity is required for a passage in the third octave and some long grace note groups but especially for the many alternate fingerings. There are subtle differences in articulation as well as groups of rapidly reiterated pitches. Most of the phrases are fairly short with frequent rests and clearly marked breathing places. Although there are dynamic extremes, most are appropriate for the register and there are few sudden changes. Extended techniques include glissandi, microtones (including microtonal trills, singing while playing, colour trills, flutter tonguing, tongue "pizzicato", whistle tones, tongue rams and key clicks.) Although special fingerings are included for the microtones, extended glissandi and colour trills, unfortunately a great many of them are incorrect. The vocal effects are quite difficult because specific pitches and rhythms are required which are independent from the flute part. There is also a long glissando which is difficult to play smoothly.

Other notes

The title means "The wounded bird".

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to become familiar with aspects of contemporary notation and extended techniques.

Effectiveness in Performance

Strong contemporary idiom. The special effects never seem gratuitous. Easily accessible because of the programmatic nature of the piece.

 

 

 

GOUGEON, DENIS born 1951

SATURNE

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1990

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Saturne is a flamboyant piece, full of fast runs, trills and triple tonguing. There are quieter passages as well, however, and some extraordinarily colourful special effects.

Technical Challenges

The range goes up to d’’’’. The piece is unmeasured but the notes are almost always grouped in quarter note equivalents. The considerable but not excessive demands on dexterity are due to the many very fast non-scalar runs. There are several different runs, most of which occur more than once. One particularly interesting one is derived from the harmonic series. There are only very few tricky rhythms but many irregular groups such as 13 or 14 notes per quarter note. The main difficulty in articulation is a long passage of very fast triple tonguing. There are some long passages with nowhere to breathe. The most difficult special effects are an extended glissando that is very difficult to control, and sustaining specific sung pitches while moving to other notes on the flute. Other extended techniques include whistle tones, flutter tonguing, unusual trills, playing with a covered embouchure, and semitone glissandi.

Other notes

Saturne is from Six thèmes solaires, a set of pieces for various instruments, either solo or with piano accompaniment. Written instructions are in French only.

Pedagogical Value

Good for fleetness of finger technique and special effects.

Effectiveness in Performance

A real attention-getter. Good as a concert opener.

 

 

 

HAMBRAEUS, BENGT born 1928

MONOLOGO

 

DURATION: 1’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

This piece gives the impression of a slow melody increasingly ornamented by grace notes and fast runs. Underlying the complicated rhythms is a steady quarter note pulse, but the composer has marked the piece "sempre un poco liberamente" which, together with the many sudden dynamic changes and accents, will enhance the expressive qualities of the music. The well-crafted development of small motives is apparent throughout. The piece starts and ends relatively calmly with more activity in the middle.

 

Technical Challenges

The most challenging aspects are rhythm and dynamics. Although the rhythm is clearly notated in quarter note equivalent groupings there are some fairly complicated subdivisions of the beat. The dynamics range from pp to fff with many sudden changes and very many sfz accents. Generally the dynamics follow the melodic contour (i.e. crescendos ascending, diminuendos descending), but there are several sfzs in the low register. The demands on dexterity are not as great as they appear at first glance since fingering in the rapid passages is fairly comfortable; however there are many rapid changes of register and large leaps. Perhaps the most difficult finger work is in some passages involving the little finger of the right hand. There is very limited use of flutter tonguing and double tonguing.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good for working on accuracy of rhythm and dynamics.

Effectiveness in Performance

Expressive but also a real virtuoso piece.

 

 

 

HARLEY, JAMES born 1959

PORTRAIT

DURATION: 8’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Difficult-Very Difficult

Musical Style

The piece is in three movements: "Frame (Prelude)," "Portrait" and "Frame (Postlude)." Serial techniques of composition are much in evidence. The piece begins with a straightforward statement of the tone row and its inversion. This is restated in an extremely fragmented fashion interspersed with long, fast passages made up of groups of notes manipulated by octave displacement, dynamics and articulation. The second movement is freely lyrical and expressive with much of the melodic material based on the tritone. The third movement is the retrograde inversion of the first, transposed a tritone up.

Technical Challenges

The main challenge in this piece is to the agility of fingers, embouchure and tongue. There are very long passages of up to 10 steadily moving notes per beat at speeds up to 72. These passages include very large intervals, sudden dynamic contrasts and irregular articulation patterns. There are also many sudden accents and long double tongued passages. Many of the phrases are very long with no breaks, but the composer does allow for breaths where needed. There are no time signatures, but the rhythmic groupings conform to a quarter note beat. The outer movements have irregularly placed bar lines and many tempo changes. Rhythmic challenges mainly involve divisions of the beat into 5, 6, 7, 9 or 10 equal notes. In the outer movements each phrase stays with a particular rhythmic grouping throughout, while the rhythm is more complicated in the middle movement. The only special effect is flutter tonguing.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent technique builder for fingers, embouchure and tongue.

Effectiveness in Performance

Twelve-tone compositional style. Movements relate very effectively.

 

 

 

JONES, KELSEY born 1922

RONDO

DURATION: 5’15" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Waterloo RECORDINGS: RCA CCS-1013 (RCI219/R204) Jones Anthology,

CMC Tape 837A

DATE: 1963 LISTINGS: RCMT 10, CS 10

LEVEL: Difficult

 

Musical Style

After a slow introduction, the piece unfolds in typical rondo form (ABACA). The recurring rondo theme is a "Presto" in 5/8 time with a rather quirky, dance-like character. Each statement of the rondo theme ends differently to lead smoothly into the intervening sections. The B section is a short "Andante" in 5/4 with a pedal E flat effect. The relatively long C section (marked "Moderato") is in 4/4 and 3/4 . It is characterized by an uneven rhythm and ends with a cadenza. A full range of pitch and dynamic is explored throughout the piece. In spite of the contrasting sections, the use of recurring motives gives the piece a sense of unity.

Technical Challenges

There is plenty of material here to challenge the advanced player. The full range of the instrument is used with some large leaps. There is no key signature, but there are frequent accidentals. The time signature changes often, as does the tempo. The rhythm, while not overly complex, is varied enough to be challenging. Articulation, phrasing and dynamics change suddenly, and considerable dexterity is necessary.

Pedagogical Value

It is unusual to find a piece that is equally challenging in all aspects. This will give a satisfying sense of accomplishment to students of about the grade 10 level.

Effectiveness in Performance

A well-crafted, virtuoso piece. Good choice for the end of a concert.

 

 

 

KOMOROUS, RUDOLF born 1931

THE NECKLACE OF CLEAR UNDERSTANDING

DURATION: 10’40’’ INSTRUMENT: Baroque flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: ART 003 - CD (CMC CD 77)

DATE: 1986

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

There is a stillness and contentment to this piece which comes from its consistent pace and the lack of a sense of development or forward motion. Each phrase fits the breath comfortably and seems complete in itself, resting briefly before going on to the next phrase. The dynamics vary from p to mf at the will of the performer, but without sudden changes. The formal organization is intricately interlaced, but not linear. The same three-part pattern of meter and rhythm (A A’ B) is repeated three times with only very slight variations except for the second part (A’) which has one bar of different meter and rhythm with each repetition. This structure is based entirely on meter and rhythm; the melodies are always different.

Technical Challenges

The time signatures are quite irregular (e.g., five and a half quarter note beats per bar) and change frequently. In spite of this, the rhythm is not unduly difficult for the most part. Occasionally, however, there are very difficult rhythms. The accidentals include many flats which tend to be more difficult on the baroque flute. Because of the mean tone intervals, double flats appear as well.

Other notes

Although the piece was written for a Hotteterre flute pitched at a=390, it can be performed on any baroque flute. The composer does not want it to be performed on a modern flute.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent for studying meter and rhythm.

Effectiveness in Performance

Calm and contemplative. Conservative style but the static nature of the music may be difficult for some audiences.

 

 

 

LALONDE, ALAIN born 1951

TROIS SOLOS D’UN PERSONNAGE

DURATION: 11-13’ INSTRUMENT: Piccolo, C flute and Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC (B foot required for C flute)

DATE: 1976 (rev. 1977)

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

The three movements are "Appel" for piccolo, "Acte" for C flute and "Mémoires" for Alto flute. The first movement starts gently with only the sounds of breathing into the embouchure, but quickly builds to a very loud and high finish. The second movement begins with rapid alternation between extremes of range and dynamic in short, irregularly-spaced gestures. After a brief reference to the opening of the first movement, there follows a long section of individual notes. Sets of instructions govern the performer's choice of phrasing, articulation, dynamics and other effects. This section gradually becomes louder. The movement ends with an accelerating run from low and soft to loud and high. The third movement recalls many of the elements of the first two movements, interrupted by brief outbursts with more special effects.

Technical Challenges

This piece is challenging in every respect, although the spatial notation (combined with indications of duration in seconds) means the meter and rhythm cannot be assessed in the usual way. Among the more unusual of the many special effects are the extensive use of the sound of breathing into the instrument, many quarter tones, and the use of different syllables in articulation. There are long sections where the performer decides, given certain parameters, how to play the given notes. There are notes written below the range of the piccolo and the alto flute, but the instructions state that these pitches can be obtained by reducing the air pressure.

Other notes

Copious written instructions in French only. The third movement is also used in an ensemble piece Terminus, ou la geste d’amour by the same composer.

Pedagogical Value

Good example of contemporary notation and performance practices.

Effectiveness in Performance

Very contemporary style. The three different flutes emphasize the contrast between movements.

 

 

 

LORRAIN, DENIS born 1948

LE TALON D’ACHILLE

DURATION: 15’30’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Large Tape 277

DATE: 1980

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Le Talon d’Achille consists of 35 "phases" of varying length (from 5 to 48 seconds) to be played without pause in a set order (or reverse order at the discretion of the performer). The phases are labelled with either numbers or letters and can be categorized in four groups: the numbered pages are all marked piano and contain either low notes or whistle tones, letters A to D are low and soft, letters E to K are mezzo piano and in the middle range and letters L to Y are high and loud. The specified order always provides a contrast of range, articulation, level of activity and especially dynamic between one phase and the next. There are some interesting juxtapositions of tone colour.

Technical Challenges

The range extends up to d’’’’. There are some very fast passages in the third octave that will require considerable dexterity. The music is marked off in bars of about one second in duration, and the rhythm is derived from the spatial positioning of the notes. For phases with free oscillation among whistle tones, the total duration of the phase is given. There are only three dynamic levels specified for the phases: p, mf and f, although the composer does allow for some flexibility within the phase occasionally. Some phrases are very long; the ones in the high register especially demand good breath capacity and control. The special effects are flutter tonguing, harmonics, pitch bending and whistle tones. Whistle tones are used extensively both as randomly changing overtones and as much more difficult accurately pitched and sustained single tones.

Other notes

The full title: Le Talon d’Achille: chemin à contraste maximal means "Achille’s Heel: the way of maximal contrast." The written instructions are in French.

Pedagogical Value

Good introduction to spatial notation. Useful for building technique and reading skill in the third octave and above.

Effectiveness in Performance

Contemporary style. Interesting contrast between phases but may be difficult to hold audience’s attention all the way through.

 

 

 

McINTYRE, PAUL born 1931

ABSTRACT

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot required)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1963

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Abstract is composed in a traditional style. It begins with a haunting refrain which reappears several times throughout the piece, sometimes in altered form. Between the statements of this melody are longer, more active passages, sometimes consisting of steadily running sixteenth notes or triplets, sometimes with a characteristic rhythm.

Technical Challenges

This piece is difficult to read because of the numerous accidentals, including enharmonic changes during tied notes (e.g., G# to A flat). There are some awkward fingering changes in rapid passages, especially involving the little finger of the right hand (e.g., low C#, B, D# slurred). The rhythm is not difficult except for the thirty-second and sixteenth note figure in the example above which occurs often and one instance of a triplet over two beats. Straightforward quintuplets and triplets occur often, as do rhythms involving ties. There are many tempo changes. Some slurring patterns are a little complicated, such as running triplets slurred in groups of four, but these patterns tend to be repeated many times in succession. There are some very long passages with nowhere to breathe. In these passages, catch breaths will have to be taken and the occasional note may have to be omitted. There are sudden dynamic changes and a couple of soft phrases in the high register.

Pedagogical Value

Useful for developing even finger technique and steady air support in long running passages which are disjunct and articulated off the beat.

Effectiveness in Performance

Traditional.

 

 

 

MATHER, BRUCE born 1939

AUSONE

DURATION: 8’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (open holes preferred)

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 1595 (Version C)

DATE: 1979

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

Ausone is most striking in its pervasive use of quarter tones. These are used not only to create intervals smaller than a semitone in smoothly undulating melodic lines, but also for larger intervals. Almost as a beneficial side-effect, the range of tone colour is necessarily expanded due to the many alternate fingerings required. The result is a sinuous and expressive piece that does not sound out of tune but rather as if it is in another tonal dimension.

Technical Challenges

By far the most difficult aspect of this piece is its extensive use of quarter tones. These are achieved by opening a hole on a regular fingering, using alternate fingerings and/or adjusting the embouchure. More than one fingering is needed for many of the quarter tones because of the different demands of different contexts. Some of the fingerings are awkward and some are difficult to control. Towards the end of the piece there are increasingly difficult ascending runs. There is no time signature, but there are irregularly placed bar lines. The rhythm conforms to an underlying quarter note beat. Triplets and quintuplets over two beats occur often and there are many passages with subtle distinctions between 3, 4 and 5 notes per beat that have the effect of a written out rubato.

Other notes

Ausone exists in three versions: Version A for flute solo, Version B for flute and 2 harps, and Version C for flute, 2 harps, 2 guitars and double string trio. The flute part is the same in all three versions.

Pedagogical Value

A good opportunity to explore quarter tones, but only for those with a very good sense of pitch.

Effectiveness in Performance

Beautifully expressive. Quarter tones may be difficult for some listeners.

 

 

 

MOREL, FRANCOIS born 1926

NUVATTUQ

DURATION: 3’30’’ INSTRUMENT: Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: E. C. Kerby RECORDINGS: CMC Tapes 553, 872, 1275 and RCI 409

DATE: 1967 LISTINGS: CS Advanced

LEVEL: Difficult

 

Musical Style

Nuvattuq is divided into many short sections separated by pauses. The piece is generally extremely angular in style although there are also lyrical passages and dramatic reiterations of pitches. The sense of angularity comes not only from large intervals between pitches but also from sudden changes of dynamic and articulation. It often sounds as if there are two performers. The many changes of meter and tempo as well as the complex rhythm give the piece a restless, but expressive vitality.

 

Technical Challenges

The first thing one notices about this piece is the complexity of its meter and rhythm. The time signature changes with nearly every bar; however the eighth note remains constant. The tempo changes frequently as well, usually abruptly although the actual change in speed is not great. There are also several gradual accelerandos. Some of the rhythmic complexities are due to the changes of meter as well as syncopations and irregular groupings. The dynamics are very challenging, with sudden changes and extremes in all registers. Special effects, used sparingly, include pitch bends, flutter tonguing, flutter while humming, key clicks, harmonics and a glissando with a very large span. This glissando is especially difficult on the alto flute because of the lack of open holes. Large intervals occur often.

Other notes

Nuvattuq means "breath" in Inuktitut (the language of the Inuit).

Pedagogical Value

This piece will encourage a growing sophistication in relationships of meter, tempo and rhythm.

Effectiveness in Performance

Interestingly varied modern style.

 

 

 

PALMIERI, SILVIO born 1957

SUR SA POINTE ANIMÉE...

DURATION: 3’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot required)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1982

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

This piece is written in a strongly contemporary idiom in which timbre, texture and dynamics are at least as important as pitch and rhythm. There is no sense of a steady pulse. The musical line is generally angular and fragmented, and dramatic dynamic changes occur throughout. The piece incorporates many extended techniques which give it a colourful palette of timbres including some quite extraordinary effects. Some examples are a sustained trill which is overblown through several harmonics and a harmonic which changes to a whistle tone at the same pitch. Groups of grace notes, rapidly repeated notes, trills and flutter tonguing all give the impression of intense activity.

Technical Challenges

This piece has its challenges but it is not overly difficult. Other than one high d’’’’, it does not go higher than b’’’. Groups of fast notes are very short except for two chromatic runs. Rhythmic flexibility is implied by the unmeasured notation and the use of many grace note groupings and fermatas, but some rhythmic relationships are clearly marked. Articulation challenges include a reiterated pitch marked "staccato as fast as possible" and some triple tongued passages. Breathing places other than at rests are clearly marked. The special effects are pitch bends, flutter tonguing, improvisation using specified elements, harmonics, multiple sonorities, whistle tones and specific instructions concerning vibrato. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is the extreme dynamic range used in all registers.

Other notes

The written instructions, which are extensive and important, appear in French only. The fingering for the multiple sonority is incorrect. The left hand should be 3 4 instead of 2 3.

Pedagogical Value

This is an excellent piece for developing a good sense of contemporary style and for learning some extended techniques if the student already has good control of articulation and dynamics.

Effectiveness in Performance

Colourful and exciting in a strongly contemporary idiom.

 

 

 

 

PAPINEAU-COUTURE, JEAN born 1916

VERSÉGÈRES

DURATION: 10’20" INSTRUMENT: Bass flute (or Alto flute or C flute)

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: RCI 647, CMC Tape 2137

DATE: 1975 (revised 1988)

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

Verségères is a thorough exploration of the timbral possibilities of the flute. The piece is especially effective in its use of air sounds, tongue "pizzicato" and the series of harmonics above a given fundamental. These effects are particularly striking on the bass flute.

Technical Challenges

This piece is challenging in many respects. It goes well beyond the normal range of the flute, up to f’’’’ (I have been unable to find a fingering for this note on bass flute). The notation is unmeasured and does not conform to any consistent beat, resulting in some rhythmic difficulties. Demands on dexterity are great, with many fast non-scalar runs, trills and some awkward tremolos. Double and triple tonguing are needed. Dynamics are extreme with sudden changes. Special effects are flutter tonguing, air sounds, tongue "pizzicato," pitch bending, glissandi, harmonics, multiphonics, singing while playing, and smorzato. The singing is fairly extensive, involving specific pitches and rhythms independent of what is being played on the flute. The harmonics require excellent embouchure control.

 

Other notes

The piece is named after the Swiss village where it was written. Although Verségères is intended for the bass flute, the composer does allow for the use of Alto flute or C flute, specifying only that the fingerings of the multiphonics be modified accordingly. While alternate fingerings are supplied for some multiphonics, the resulting pitches are not always the same. There are other differences as well, since quite a few effects (such as glissandi and tremolos) are dependent on open holes or trill keys (most bass flutes have neither). The written instructions are in French.

Pedagogical Value

This piece requires a highly skilled performer.

Effectiveness in Performance

Strongly contemporary. Exciting and colourful.

 

 

 

PAUK, ALEX born 1945

SCAN

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute (B foot required)

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1973

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Scan is a fascinating exploration of the richly varied sound capabilities of the flute. While strongly contemporary in style, it is never merely academic, but rather very expressive in the shaping of its phrases. The use of breath effects is especially interesting.

Technical Challenges

Meter and rhythm cannot be assessed in the usual way because the notation is entirely spatial, that is, there is no reference to standard note values. There are groups of very fast grace notes, but dexterity is necessary even more for the alternate fingerings which are often awkward. The articulation is exceptionally varied with breath attacks, strong tongued accents, double tonguing with very breathy sound and irregular groups of very fast repeated notes. Dynamics are extreme and include many sudden changes. Special effects (multiphonics, breath attacks, flutter tonguing, speaking into the flute, unfocused breathy tone, pitch bending, vibrato effects and alternate fingerings) are used extensively. Non-standard aspects of the notation are explained clearly in the legend.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent example of spatial notation and special effects.

Effectiveness in Performance

Well paced. Interesting sound palette. Strongly contemporary style that can be enjoyed by most audiences.

 

 

 

PÉPIN, CLERMONT born 1926

QUATRE MONODIES

DURATION: 6’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Editions C. Pépin RECORDINGS: Dominion S-69005/6

(CMC Record 126), CMC Tapes 525, 553, 633, 863, 1170A

DATE: 1971 LISTINGS: RCMT 10, CS 10,

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

The four contrasting movements begin with an "Andante" in which the triple meter is often obscured by syncopation or ties over the bar line. The second movement is a ternary form "Fantasia" which begins with short, fast ascending runs. The middle section is more lyrical and ends with a short cadenza leading back to the beginning of the movement. The "Badinerie" has a playful, march-like rhythm with repeated trills and double tongued ascending passages in the middle. The final "Gigue" has an interesting off-beat rhythm and staccato eighth note passages in which the intervals gradually expand and then contract. The ending is loud, fast and exciting.

Technical Challenges

Challenges to dexterity lie in the large intervals which occur in all four movements, the non-scalar runs in the second movement and the trills involving weak fingers in the third movement (G# to A and D to E flat). The rhythmic difficulties are limited to some syncopated rhythms in the first two movements, quintuplets in the second movement, and some tricky off-beat rhythms in the fourth movement. There are extended passages of double tonguing and also some triple tonguing. Some long phrases have nowhere to breathe. The dynamic range is extreme but there are few sudden changes. Flutter tonguing is the only special effect.

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to use double and triple tonguing. Lots of large intervals, both tongued and slurred.

Effectiveness in Performance

Light-hearted and fairly conservative style.

 

 

 

SAINT-MARCOUX, MICHELINE COULOMBE 1938 - 1985

HORIZON I

DURATION: 6’30’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1981

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

Horizon I is very contemporary in style. There are many special effects, the rhythms are complicated and the melodic lines are very angular. Although the piece is written with time signatures, the many tempo changes and the rhythms are such that there is no perception of an underlying pulse. The dramatic dynamics and the dense activity make for a very exciting piece.

Technical Challenges

Dexterity is a major consideration in this piece. The many fast passages, although short, consist of unpredictable pitches. There are many large leaps and the patterns are never repeated. The time signatures and tempos change frequently but the quarter note remains the beat unit. There are also unmeasured zones where the overall duration is given. The rhythm often involves complex divisions of the beat and there are several places where the "5" has been omitted from quintuplet groupings. Reiterated notes changing in speed (as in the example above) require a smooth transition between double and single tonguing. Dynamic range is extreme and involves many sudden changes. Extended techniques include singing while playing, pitch bending, multiphonics, vibrato effects, flutter tonguing, air sounds, key clicks and whistle tones. Harmonics are written, but on pitches where no harmonic exists. There are two zones where the performer chooses the order in which elements are played.

Other notes

Horizon I was written for the Concours de Musique du Canada.

Pedagogical Value

A good technique builder.

Effectiveness in Performance

Dramatic and exciting. Contemporary idiom may be difficult for some audiences.

 

 

 

SOMERS, HARRY born 1925

ETCHING - THE VOLLARD SUITE

DURATION: 3’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Ricordi (Canada) RECORDINGS: CBC SM114, CMC Tapes 553, 1007,1079C CMC Large Tape 57A

DATE: 1964 LISTINGS: RCMT 9, CS 10

LEVEL: Difficult

 

Musical Style

The piece begins and ends with long notes in the low register but builds up considerable excitement in the middle section with sweeping runs and more emphasis on the high register, often at louder dynamic levels. The rapid runs, complicated rhythms and fluctuating dynamics give the impression of a wild dance.

Technical Challenges

Virtually the full range of the flute is used here (c’ to b flat’’’). The entire piece is in a steady 4/4 at a slow tempo (except for a short accelerando - ritardando); however the rhythm is rather complicated--frequent tied notes including ties over the bar line, triplets including ties across beats, and subdivisions of the beat into as many as fourteen notes. Nevertheless, the notation is clear and easy to follow with the notes always grouped to the beat. Considerable dexterity is required to execute the fast passages cleanly despite the fact that the same pitch sequence recurs frequently (a combination of a minor and a flat minor harmonic scales.) When the fast notes reach their peak of frenzy, the rhythmic notation is abandoned in favour of 43 notes beamed as eighth notes with the indication "very fast." This passage is much easier to play if the notes are grouped in some way. I would suggest groups of six notes ending with a group of seven (4+3). The groups of fourteen notes preceding this passage work well when grouped as 4+4+6.

Other notes

This flute solo constitutes the sixth movement of The Picasso Suite for small orchestra which is based on music for a television program about Pablo Picasso. The subtitle of this movement refers to a suite of etchings published by the Parisian art dealer Ambroise Vollard.

Pedagogical Value

This is an excellent vehicle for developing clean and rapid finger technique, expressive dynamics and accurate rhythm.

Effectiveness in Performance

This is a real showpiece for both virtuosity and expression.

 

 

 

STEENHUISEN, PAUL born 1965

FOUNDRY

DURATION: 9’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1990

LEVEL: Very Difficult

Musical Style

Foundry is characterized by its impressive dynamism. It completely contradicts the popular image of the flute as a sweet, delicate instrument. This piece celebrates the "noise" of the flute (key clicks, air sounds, percussive tonguing) as much as it does the pure tone of the instrument. Timbral effects are used throughout the piece, sometimes as contrast, sometimes as a means of developing or shaping a phrase. Often within the course of a phrase, the tone seems to evolve (e.g., from key clicks to air sounds to breathy tone to normal tone) as if coming in and out of focus without losing intensity. There are several different planes of activity that become hidden or resurface at various points in the piece. This piece "pushes the envelope" of flute-playing but always within the framework of artistic integrity, never merely for effect.

Technical Challenges

This piece offers extraordinary challenges in every aspect of flute playing and musicianship in general. Relationships of tempo, meter and rhythm are sophisticated and very complex. There are many difficult extended runs at very fast tempos (10 notes per beat at 96). Extreme dynamics are called for in all registers. The special effects are key clicks, tongue "pizzicato," air sounds, percussive attacks, flutter tonguing, throat flutter and breath attack. Even the most skilled performer will require a considerable investment of time and effort to do justice to this piece.

Other notes

The notation is exceptionally clear and precise. This is a great help in a piece as difficult as this.

Pedagogical Value

Too difficult to be of pedagogical value, but interesting as a reference.

Effectiveness in Performance

Relentlessly intense. Likely to be controversial.

 

 

 

TANNER, DAVID born 1950

TOOT SUITE

DURATION: 7’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 1235

DATE: 1973

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

Toot Suite has three movements separated by two interludes. The opening "Scherzo" begins with a rolling 3/8 followed by a sentimental melody in 5/8 and ends with a somewhat altered restatement of the first section. The second movement "Andante" features a rhythm of five notes over two beats as well as trills, tremolos, various special effects and some very dramatic dynamics. The third movement "Scherzo" is in a jolly 2/4 meter which is disrupted by occasional bars in 3/8 or 3/4. The two interludes are similar in that they are high, very articulated and rhythmic with much syncopation. Each has its own character, however, the first featuring repeated c’’’s and the second using upwardly slurred tritones. The characteristic use of large intervals and rhythm or meter shifts which "tease" the steady pulse permeate the piece with a comic instability. The piece seems to imitate the gait of an amiable drunk or a bumbling clown, stumbling and lurching along.

Technical Challenges

Considerable skill is needed to master the many technical challenges. Agile fingers are required to play the piece at the tempos marked and a flexible embouchure is a necessity because of the many large intervals. The rhythmic subtleties are quite sophisticated, including 5:2 and 3:2 patterns, septuplet groupings, plenty of syncopation and changes of meter. The notation of the first interlude, to be played 8va throughout, is rather disconcerting because the written notes often go below middle C. Special effects include flutter tonguing, harmonics, semitone pitch bends and breathy tone.

Pedagogical Value

An all-around challenge, but fun to play.

Effectiveness in Performance

Charmingly amusing.

 

 

 

TREMBLAY, GILLES born 1932

ENVOL

DURATION: 7’40’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Salabert, CMC RECORDINGS: CMC-CD 5094

DATE: 1984 LISTINGS: RCMT ARCT, CS Advanced

LEVEL: Difficult-Very Difficult

Musical Style

Envol (taking flight) is organized in seven parts: Lancés (launch), Surabondance (exuberance) I, Ruis (flowing forth) I, Surabondance II, Ruis II, Surabondance III, Chant lyrique (lyrical chant). The musical material alternates among delicate textures (especially whistle tones), aggressively loud and articulated phrases and freely lyrical passages. Frequent pauses allow for the accumulated resonance to decay before moving on. There is a powerful sense of drama to this music--a quality of controlled chaos. I believe it reflects a profound but unconventional spirituality.

Technical Challenges

This piece offers many challenges, not the least of which is deciding what choices to make from the available possibilities: order of notes in certain sections, rhythmic freedom, choice of dynamics either fluctuating freely between set limits or allowing for specified priorities, etc. Demands on dexterity, articulation and dynamics are considerable but the most difficult aspect is in the liberal use of all kinds of special effects.

Other notes

Envol: alléluia pour flûte seule was written as a prologue to Les Vêpres de la Vierge for choir, soprano and orchestra commissioned by the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Sylvanès in France. The Salabert edition appears not to be currently available and the manuscript from the CMC is difficult to read.

Pedagogical Value

This piece should only be assigned to advanced students who are eager for new intellectual and musical challenges.

Effectiveness in Performance

Demanding but rewarding for performer and audience alike. A good foil for more conservative repertoire.

 

 

 

WUENSCH, GERHARD born 1925

THREE PIECES FOR FLUTE SOLO

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1971

LEVEL: Difficult

Musical Style

The three pieces consist of a lively "Prelude," a graceful "Minuet" and an exciting "Toccata." The outer movements are similar in their fast tempo, varied articulations and rapidly repeated notes. Both of these movements are notable for rhythmic intricacy set off by short rests, but the final "Toccata" also features unequal beat lengths because of the many changes between simple and irregular meters. The "Minuet" is a rather simple and lovely contrast. All the movements have very detailed dynamic markings with subtle shading as well as dramatic contrasts.

Technical Challenges

The range is a modest d’ to f’’’ except for one appearance of high G# A F# at the end. The key signatures are only one and two sharps, but there are many accidentals, including the less familiar ones and a double sharp. The first movement has many meter changes, but all have the quarter note as the beat. The third movement, however, adds passages of 4+3/8, 5/8 and 3/8, making for some complicated rhythms. The rhythmic complexity is heightened by short rests which often create off-beat patterns, and articulations which de-emphasize the beat. Considerable dexterity of fingers and tongue are needed to play the fast movements up to speed. There is quite a bit of double tonguing. The dynamics range from pp to ff, sf and sfz in all ranges and there are many short crescendos and diminuendos as well as abrupt changes. Flutter tonguing occurs once.

Pedagogical Value

Good for developing rhythmic accuracy and control of dynamics. Good opportunity to use double tonguing, especially starting off the beat.

Effectiveness in Performance

Conservative in style but effective if played with energy and flair.

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