To the despair of most flute players, orchestration books consistently list the flute as the most agile of all instruments, usually saying something like, "Go ahead. Write whatever you want. The flute can play anything." Who could resist such an invitation? Canadian composers certainly havent. Couple this fabled dexterity with the instruments extraordinary timbral range and it is no surprise that the flute is exceptionally well favoured in the catalogue of Canadian music. As of September 1994, no fewer than 1,281 pieces in the Canadian Music Centres holdings contain the flute. Of those, 106 are for flute and piano and 68 for solo flute.
My strategy for tackling the Canadian flute repertoire was to limit this Guidelist to works for unaccompanied flute. To this end, I decided to include all such pieces by associate composers of the Canadian Music Centre plus two others (Evans and Keetbaas) who have written well-known pieces for flute.
My purpose in writing the Guidelist is to help to make this wealth of repertoire more easily accessible. This desire has its roots in my own personal experience. Although I happen to live in an area where I can visit one of the regional offices of the Canadian Music Centre in person, I have often found myself at a loss as to where to begin when looking for a new Canadian piece for myself or my students. The task of selecting a piece that is suitable in terms of style, technical demands, duration, etc. from a pile of scores can be daunting or, at the very least, extremely time-consuming. How much more difficult it must be, then, for those who cannot simply browse the shelves but must make their selections by mail-order. It is my hope that this Guidelist will serve performers, teachers and students by making it easier to choose Canadian pieces for concerts, festivals or study purposes.
The Guidelist could also be useful as a reference for composers wishing to write for the flute, especially if they intend to write for student performers. As can be seen from the index listing pieces in order of difficulty, most of the pieces fall into the "difficult" category. It would be wonderful if some of the gaps revealed by this research could be filled by composers who are sensitive to the inherent value of young musicians playing music of their own time and place.
Several organizations have contributed to the growing awareness of Canadian music for student musicians. The Registered Music Teachers Association initiated Canada Music Week, the Royal Conservatory of Music adds more Canadian pieces whenever they revise their syllabi and the Association for Canadian New Music Projects has instigated Contemporary Showcase festivals in a growing number of centres. The John Adaskin Project Guidelists have a role to play in supporting these endeavours by providing information about Canadian repertoire.
The archetypal Canadian fascination with national identity tends to revert to discussion of what we are not. Surely the real answer lies in the many things that we are and in expressing this, the vision of creative artists of all disciplines is paramount. It is my hope that this Guidelist, inspite of its admittedly narrow focus, can facilitate in a small way the discovery and the development of our uniquely Canadian musical voice.
This Guidelist is limited to pieces for unaccompanied flute written by Canadian composers before September, 1994. Compositions are listed alphabetically by composer. Bibliographical information for each entry includes instrument (Cflute, piccolo, alto, bass or baroque flute), availability of score, approximate duration, date of composition and recordings. The heading "Listings" refers to the inclusion of the piece in syllabi such as for the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) or the Contemporary Showcase. Where the piece is included in such listings, the grade level is indicated. The musical examples were done using Keith Hamels Notewriter software.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
The global ratings Easy, Medium, Difficult and Very Difficult are used to give an overall assessment of the level of difficulty.
Easy compositions are suitable for those who have had less than two years of instruction. The RCMT equivalent is up to about the Grade 4 level.
Medium compositions are suitable for those who have had up to four years of instruction. The RCMT equivalent is approximately Grade 6 - 8 level.
Difficult compositions are demanding for high school or college students who have had more than four years of instruction. The RCMT equivalent is approximately Grade 9 - 10 level.
Very Difficult compositions are demanding for advanced university level and professional soloists. The RCMT equivalent is at least ARCT level.
Since many pieces are more challenging in some aspects than others, I also included a chart for each piece showing the difficulty of certain elements. The global rating was based on the average of the levels of difficulty on the chart, but I took into consideration how often and in what context the most difficult material was used. The objective parameters I used to assess technical difficulty are shown in condensed form in the chart on the next page. These were derived from comparisons with the RCMT syllabus and with the Guidelines for Assessment of Difficulty developed by Eleanor Stubley for A Guide to Solo French Horn Music by Canadian Composers published under the auspices of the John Adaskin Project. I found that the assessment of difficulty for each aspect was more realistic in a few cases if I did not apply the criteria strictly. For example, if a piece exceeded a parameter rarely, slightly and in a context that allowed ample preparation time, I would class it at the less difficult level. Finally, it must be said that no matter how much rigour is applied to defining terms and categories, each piece is a unique combination of challenges and each player has a unique set of abilities so that any judgment must have a subjective component. The title Guidelist is well chosen.
Range indications are as follows: b means the B a semitone below middle C, c' indicates middle C, d' means the D a tone above middle C, c'' refers to the C one octave above middle C, c''' is two octaves above middle C and so on.
Where there was no key signature or sense of key as such, I considered instead the use of accidentals in terms of frequency and familiarity (F# versus B# or Fx).
Where time signatures were not included, I used the term Implied Meter and considered the placement of bar lines (if any) and whether there was a consistent underlying pulse.
ACNMP Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects (c/o Chalmers House, see p.iii)
CMC Canadian Music Centre (see p.iii)
CS Contemporary Showcase
A non-competitive music festival for contemporary music initiated by the ACNMP.
Held annually in Toronto, London, Windsor, Montreal and Edmonton.
RCMT Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto)
Scores of most of the pieces in this Guidelist are available for loan or purchase through the Canadian Music Centre and can be obtained from the regional offices listed on page iii. The Canadian Music Centre also has biographical information on associate composers, program notes for some pieces, reference works and an extensive listening archive of recordings of Canadian music. Published works may be ordered directly from the publisher (see Index of Publishers).
First, my thanks go to John Adaskin, the Canadian Music Centre and the Canadian Music Educators Association whose vision and continuing support has brought Canadian music to the attention of music educators and made this project possible. Secondly, I must thank Dr. Patricia Shand for "inventing the wheel" with regard to the John Adaskin Project Guidelists, for offering her knowledge and experience so freely during the writing of this volume and for her patient support. Colin Miles, the Regional Director of the B.C. office of the Canadian Music Centre, suggested the idea to me in the first place and shared his enthusiasm and good humour throughout. Kathleen Bowles, Lara MacMillan and Dianne Kennedy from the CMC staff were unstinting in their willingness to help me track down scores and information as were Teresa Magdanz and Paola Secco from the Alliance for Canadian New Music Projects. Douglas College generously granted Educational Leave and the Banff Centre for the Arts granted short-term residency for the research and writing of this book and the recording of pieces selected from the Guidelist. Mary Gardiner offered constructive criticism and many other colleagues shared their insights. My teachers, especially Greeta French, Robert Aitken and Severino Gazzeloni nurtured my interest in music of my own time. I must also thank the composers who wrote the pieces that inspired me to want to take on this task. Thanks finally to my husband, Barry Cogswell and my children Sebastian and Nova for helping me keep things in perspective and pretending not to feel abandoned while I was working.