NICHOLSON, G. GORDON born 1942

SUITE: ELEVEN SHORT PIECES FOR SOLO FLUTE

DURATION: 27’30" INSTRUMENT: C flute or other woodwind

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1991

LEVEL: Easy Medium

Musical Style

The eleven short pieces that make up this suite range from under one minute to over five minutes in length and have such colourful titles as "Dirge for a Royal Roach," "Benaulim Anticipation" and "Mississippi John Jaisalmer." The composer’s brief description of the inspiration for each piece is a great help in interpretation. While each piece has its own character, there are two obvious stylistic influences: jazz and the music of India and south-east Asia. The form is generally quite simple, usually involving some repetition. Except for two free, unmeasured pieces and one having frequent meter changes, the pieces have straightforward meters. Four of the pieces include chord symbols, implying optional accompaniment.

Technical Challenges

Most of these pieces are quite easy, but a few are more challenging. VIII, probably the most difficult piece, has many changes from simple to compound to irregular meters and is rather fast. VII and the beginning of IX are unmetered and free with more complicated rhythm than the others. Some groups of fast notes do occur in VII and XI but they are always easy for the fingers. Many of the pieces use syncopation. II and X are very easy and are suitable for beginners who can play up to g’’’.

Other notes

This suite is a selection from pieces written during a period of research and extensive travel. Almost all of these pieces were written in India and south-east Asia.

Pedagogical Value

Useful as an introduction to jazz styles. The easy pieces would add stylistic variety to a beginner’s repertoire.

Effectiveness in Performance

It would be best to choose two or three contrasting pieces from the suite.

 

 

 

WARE, PETER born 1951

ELEGY

DURATION: 2’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute or Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC, Acoma Co.

DATE: 1992

LEVEL: Easy Medium LISTINGS: CS 5-6

Musical Style

As befits the title, Elegy is marked "Largo con dolore." The piece unfolds at a dignified pace, alternately contemplative and declamatory in style. The parlando effect is enhanced by meticulously notated articulation. The emotional content is expressed in the wide-ranging and mercurial dynamics. Several tempo changes add to the expressive quality of the piece and, in a piece as short as this one, create a feeling of rubato.

Technical Challenges

The range is very modest, the highest note being c’’’. Only the use of c’ and c#’ keeps the range from being rated "easy." There is no key signature but there are many accidentals including double sharps. Although the time signature remains the same throughout, there are some subtle tempo changes. Due to the slow overall tempo and lack of fast passages, dexterity is not a factor. The main rhythmic challenge is in making a clear distinction between duple and triple divisions of the beat. In addition to the many rests and some breath marks, there are many staccato notes where it is easy to catch a breath. Flutter tonguing is used very sparingly. The real challenges lie in articulation and dynamics. There is a wide range of both, with many abrupt and extreme changes.

Pedagogical Value

Since the student is spared other difficulties, this is an excellent piece for learning to make clear distinctions between various types of articulation and for learning to control dynamics.

Effectiveness in Performance

Short, expressive.

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