ADASKIN, MURRAY born 1906

VOCALISE for Solo Flute

 

DURATION: 2’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 2200 (clarinet)

DATE: 1990

LEVEL: Medium

 

Musical Style

Vocalise begins with a meandering, introspective, somewhat mournful melody in the lowest octave. The middle section becomes more active, even playful, and exhibits more variety in articulation and dynamics. The piece ends with a complete restatement of the beginning, partially altered through transposition. Except for the middle section, the overall impression is low and quiet.

 

Technical Challenges

Technically, this piece is fairly easy except for several flurries of rather fast notes, but even these usually conform to a pattern of a diminished triad followed by chromatic steps which is repeated ascending and descending. Considerable dexterity will be required by the little finger of the right hand however. Most of the piece lies in the low and middle range with the third octave used only very briefly. The time signature varies among 2/4 , 3/4 and 4/4 with no significant changes of tempo. The rhythm is usually quite simple but there are places where the beat is divided into 5, 6, 8 or 12 even notes. There are several places where grace notes are not clearly indicated, i.e. they are written the same as regular notes.

Other notes

This is a transposition of Vocalise for solo clarinet in B flat which was written in 1989.

 

Pedagogical Value

Excellent workout for the little finger of the right hand. Good for developing a steady pulse while playing different subdivisions of beat.

Effectiveness in Performance

Lovely piece. Best at the beginning of a program or between pieces of contrasting styles.

 

 

 

AITKEN, ROBERT born 1939

ICICLE

DURATION: 2’30" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Editions Musicales RECORDINGS: Melbourne SMLP 4037

Transatlantique (CMC Record 295),

CMC Large Tape 120B

DATE: 1977 LISTINGS: RCMT 8, CS 7-9

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

The most striking aspect of this piece is the broad range of tone colour achieved through the extensive use of non-traditional techniques. In fact there are only 3 bars of traditional playing in the whole piece. The frequent tremolos and trills, including trills of colour rather than pitch (using various fingerings for the same note) and the rapid microtonal passages give the piece a quality of shivering from the cold which is implied by the title. The tempo fluctuates from quarter = 58 - 112 but the general impression is of a moderate underlying pace. Although there is no time signature, the bar lines indicate 2/4 meter throughout. Most of the piece is in the low and middle range (c’ to d flat’’’ ) but occasional tremolos go up to f’’’.

Technical Challenges

The rhythm is quite simple through most of the piece but some difficult patterns are used as well. The many trills, tremolos and alternate fingerings, while not difficult per se, do require some dexterity.

Among the extended techniques are: harmonics, pitch bending, finger glissandi, multiple sonorities, the "coloured" trills mentioned above. These have been well chosen for the intermediate player in that they are not difficult either from the standpoint of finger dexterity or embouchure control. The notation is rather innovative: a 2-line system in which the bottom staff shows what to play and the top staff indicates the actual sounds. In all, the most difficult aspect of learning the piece is becoming familiar with the notation and remembering the many written instructions.

 

Pedagogical Value

This piece can be used as a fun way to learn extended techniques.

Effectiveness in Performance

A rather delicate piece, fascinating in its rich variety of tone colour and subtle gradations of pitch.

 

 

 

APPLEBAUM, LOUIS born 1918

ESSAY

 

DURATION: 3’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Gordon V. Thompson RECORDINGS: Dominion S-69005/6

(CMC Record 126),

CAPAC Record 23

DATE: 1971 LISTINGS: RCMT 8, CS 7-9

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

This short piece was written to illustrate some special effects of which the flute is capable and it does so admirably well. The effects are never gratuitous, indeed they are handled in quite an expressive manner within a melodic framework. The tempo is rather slow which allows the listener time to appreciate the colouristic effects (not to mention allowing the performer time to execute them!) but there are frequent subtle tempo changes which add to the expressive nature of the music. The changes in dynamics reinforce the pacing and help to define the structure.

 

Technical Challenges

This piece is intelligently designed to allow the intermediate player to concentrate on the development of new techniques. The range is quite modest (d’ to e’’’). Phrases, while irregular in length, are clearly marked with comfortable breathing places. Articulation is straightforward. There is no key signature, but there are fairly numerous accidentals, mostly flats. Although there is no time signature, there are bar lines which help to delineate the phrasing. Rhythm is clearly based on a quarter note pulse with note values up to an eighth note predominating. There are a few sixteenth notes, some eighth note triplets and one sextuplet. There are occasional ties within the bar, but not over bar lines. The most challenging aspect of this piece, then, is in learning to play the extended techniques and reading their notation. These include flutter tonguing, glissandi, variations in vibrato speed, singing while playing, harmonics, tremolos, key slaps and a simple multiphonic. None of these are difficult per se and care has been taken to present them in comfortable contexts, but there is definitely more to think about than usual in a piece of this level.

Other notes

Written to complement a talk on "Contemporary Flute Technique" given by Robert Aitken.

 

Pedagogical Value

Excellent introduction to extended techniques.

Effectiveness in Performance

Good way to introduce audiences to special effects.

 

 

 

ARCHER, VIOLET born 1913

SIGNATURES

DURATION: 7’ INSTRUMENTS: Alto flute and C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Medium difficult

Musical Style

There are four movements, each with a distinct style. The first two are for alto flute. The first movement, "Andantino, capriccioso declamando con rubato" is dramatic and colourful. There are many changes of tempo, dynamic and articulation. Melodic fragments are often repeated with an accelerando. Intervals within a phrase are sometimes filled with chromatic glissandi. The second movement, "Largo espressivo, con rubato" is the simplest of the movements--a slow, winding melody which slowly rises in pitch, dynamic and rhythmic activity, then falls again. The third movement, "Allegretto capriccioso," is the shortest, fastest and most rhythmically exciting of the movements. The fourth movement, "Andante, ma con spirito," has an exotic, melismatic quality. It contains many tremolos, and like the first movement, includes repeated melodic fragments.

Technical Challenges

While this piece encompasses the full range of the flute, the third octave is used sparingly until the final movement and the extensive dynamic range (ppp to fff) is applied with care (loud high notes, soft low notes). The meter changes frequently throughout but the quarter note always gets the beat, the number of beats per bar ranging from 2 to 6. Each movement has tempo changes, usually accelerandos followed by a tempos. There are some challenging rhythms such as quarter note triplets, double dotted notes and syncopations involving subdivisions of the beat. The repeated fragments and the tremolos involve easy finger movements which make the accelerandos comfortable. The only exception is the a’’’ to f’’’ tremolo which requires a special fingering. Nevertheless, dexterity is required to execute the fast passages cleanly. Flutter tonguing is used in the first and third movements.

 

Pedagogical Value

Particularly good for learning to play with a sense of rubato.

Effectiveness in Performance

Very attractive. Traditional style but varied and always interesting.

 

 

 

ARCHER, VIOLET born 1913

STATEMENTS

DURATION: 17’ INSTRUMENT: Alto flute and C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1982

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

 

Musical Style

The three movements match their descriptive titles. "Meditation" (for alto flute) is slow and declamatory in style with expressive rubatos and tempo changes. It builds slowly to a long middle section with a sustained f to ff dynamic and then dies slowly away. "Jubilation" (for C flute) is in very fast sixteenth notes (quarter = 132-138). Even a larghetto middle section is kept active by the use of chains of tremolos and grace notes. The frequent repetition of small fragments of phrases combined with crescendos or accelerandos is an interesting feature which adds to the sense of excitement. "Ritual" returns to the alto flute and much the same mood as the first movement. The idea of ritual is reinforced by two recurring patterns on the same pitch which also occur in slightly altered form at other pitches.

Technical Challenges

The second movement requires considerable dexterity because of the tempo and the repetition of groups of notes. Many of the tremolos are difficult to connect smoothly and to execute consistently. Although the time signature changes often (ranging from two to eleven beats per bar), the quarter note always retains the beat. The special effects are tremolos (never more than a third), flutter tonguing and an indication to "overblow with a rush of air to the highest possible note."

 

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to introduce the alto flute. Good for developing finger speed.

Effectiveness in Performance

Well-written and effective piece. Endurance will be needed by the performer to maintain intensity to the end.

 

 

 

ARCHER, VIOLET born 1913

SUITE FOR SOLO FLUTE

 

DURATION: 9’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1976

LEVEL: Medium difficult

Musical Style

This suite consists of four contrasting movements: "Prelude" is an allegretto scherzando in 6/8 time with many sudden dynamic changes, "March" has a bouncy, comic quality because of the staccato eighth notes and the disjunct melodic contour, "Soliloquy" is slow and declamatory in style, and "Paean" is joyful and triumphant, with dynamic markings never softer than mf. Despite the differences in mood, all the movements exhibit a jagged angularity in one way or another. This is achieved with a zigzagging melodic line, large interval leaps, sudden dynamic changes or dotted rhythms, all of which give the piece a sense of playful energy.

 

Technical Challenges

Although this piece has difficult aspects in most of the categories listed in the evaluation chart above, the difficulty is by no means consistent throughout. Basically it is a medium piece which strays into difficult territory from time to time. The time signatures are easy except for some tricky changes from simple to compound meter in the last movement. The third movement has double dotted notes and triplet subdivision making it the most rhythmically complex. Double tonguing, triple tonguing and flutter tonguing are used only in the last movement. Overall, the demands on dexterity are quite moderate, with very few extended passages of fast notes and no awkward finger changes. There are several places where phrasing is difficult because there is no obvious place to breathe. The last two movements have frequent tempo changes and are more difficult than the first two in other ways as well. Dynamics must be observed carefully throughout.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good way of learning to maintain support and tone quality through an angular phrase.

Effectiveness in Performance

Bright and quirky. Effective if performed in a playful manner.

 

 

 

ARSENAULT, RAYNALD 1945 - 1995

BONHEUR

 

DURATION: 6’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1980

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

The title means "happiness," but this may not be immediately obvious to the listener. The sudden dynamic shifts and extreme changes of note length suggest a dramatic, angular character. The structure is partly defined by the pitch range. It starts in the middle range, then works up to an extended passage in the third octave which also has the most extreme dynamic range (ppp to ff). The piece ends in the lowest octave with more moderate dynamic changes.

 

Technical Challenges

The greatest challenge is in the dynamics. There are many sudden and extreme dynamic changes in all registers. The rhythm is also rather complicated. There is no time signature, but the rhythmic groupings are quite irregular. The opening material is developed throughout the piece. Other demands are modest. The highest note is f#’’’. There are no extended passages of fast notes. There are almost no rests, but breathing places are well marked. Subtle tempo changes do occur. Flutter tonguing and harmonics occur occasionally.

 

Pedagogical Value

Excellent for working on maximising dynamic contrast.

Effectiveness in Performance

Dramatic.

 

 

 

BADIAN, MAYA born 1945

ECHOES

 

DURATION: 7’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Les Éditions Lucian Badian

DATE: 1974

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

Echoes consists of 3 movements. The first and third movements explore the varied possibilities of the instrument, using sudden changes of nuance, attack and timbre. The durations of notes and rests are specified precisely, but since there is no context of meter or pulse, the effect is improvisatory. The middle movement uses the same pitch material but contrasts with the outer movements in its lyrical simplicity.

Technical Challenges

Full dynamic and pitch range is used. Although there is no key signature, the only accidentals used are flats (and their corresponding naturals). The second movement is in 3/4 time with irregularly occurring single bars of 4/4. It is not technically challenging. The other movements, while written in standard time notation, have neither time signature nor regular pulse. This makes for some difficulty in playing the rhythm accurately. There are many sudden changes of dynamic, register and mode of playing. While the notation itself is standard, there are many written instructions and performance indications in Italian, English or, most often, Romanian. Translations into English and French are given in a legend at the beginning, but are incomplete. There remain many inconsistencies in the notation as well as unexplained instructions. The special effects are flutter tonguing (frullato), key clicks, "slaps" (no indication is given whether these are key or tongue slaps), air sounds, throat sounds and speaking into the flute.

Other notes

French title is Résonances. Called Rizonante in the original Romanian.

 

Pedagogical Value

Notation in the first and third movements is confusing. This could be discouraging if this is the first exposure to music that departs from the norms of traditional writing.

Effectiveness in Performance

Quite striking when played with careful attention to rhythm and dynamics. The second movement has a lovely simplicity. The first and third movements are in a contemporary style while the second movement is more traditional.

 

 

 

BAUER, ROBERT P. born 1950

THREE HAIKU ON SIMPLE TIMES

DURATION: 7’15’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute, brass wind chimes

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1971

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Rather theatrical in style, the piece starts in darkness with the sound of the wind chimes. The lights come up gradually with the first flute sound and dim again at the end. In addition to normal playing and many special effects, the flutist also plays brass wind chimes, hums and recites the haiku, speaking, whispering and yelling as indicated. The words are English. As implied by the title, there are three movements: "Spring" seems to evoke the awakening of the earth after the winter, "Rain" imitates raindrops, howling wind and finally a storm (I wonder if the spoken words "window pain" are meant to evoke a particularly poetic image in the mind of the performer) and "Country" expresses peacefulness. Some of the special effects are well thought out. For example, playing the flute with one hand and the wind chimes with the other works very well for the pitches indicated and the transformation of the spoken word "grass" into the sound of air being blown into the flute can be done very gradually. Unfortunately, the notation does not always make the composer’s intentions clear. (Do stems without noteheads mean to continue the same pitch?)

 

Technical Challenges

The piece is not at all difficult to play; however the spatial notation and the special effects will take some time to learn for those who are unfamiliar with them. Dotted bar lines are used to indicate units of 5 seconds duration, and musical events are spaced accordingly. In addition to standard rhythmic notation, some graphic elements of spatial notation are used. Extended techniques include variation in the speed of vibrato, flutter tonguing, blowing air into the flute, harmonics, key slaps and finger glissandi. A smooth transition between single and double tonguing is needed in several places where tongued notes speed up or slow down .

Pedagogical Value

Useful introduction to non-standard notation and many of the easier extended techniques.

Effectiveness in Performance

This piece needs a performer who is comfortable with the vocalizations and other theatrical effects. These could be effective if executed with confidence, but embarrassing if not.

 

 

 

CHATMAN, STEPHEN born 1950

SLINK

 

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute, Alto flute or Bass flute

AVAILABILITY: Berandol RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 1467

DATE: 1977

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

As suggested by the title, the style is indeed slinky. There is a breathless, sashaying quality to the piece which is brought out by grace notes, the frequent downward bending of pitches and a recurring rhythmic figure of a quarter note followed by an eighth note. The piece evolves gradually into a jazzy 6/8 which remains, more or less, until the end. At least a third of the piece is in the extreme low end of the flute range with sporadic forays into the middle octave. It never ventures higher than e flat ´´´. For this reason, and also because of the airy sound specified by the composer, this piece lends itself best to the lower flutes, especially the bass flute. The overall dynamic is extremely soft (mostly ppp with crescendos up to pp!), although there are occasional bursts up to mp and one climactic moment reaches mf. Non vibrato sempre is indicated at the beginning with vibrato marked only very sparingly, almost as a type of ornamentation.

Technical Challenges

The range is c´ to e flat´´´ but mostly c´ to g´ - a good workout for the right hand little finger. Otherwise the notes are not difficult. Grace notes abound but they are usually conjunct notes. There are several longer grace note runs but they are always derived from the same sequence of pitches. The tempo varies from quarter = 66 to 120 and the rhythm is not difficult. Most of the piece is unmetered, though standard rhythmic notation is used. Some sections are in 6/8 time. Note values are mostly eighth notes and triplet eighths with longer notes and only one group of sixteenths. The pitch bending may take some practice to achieve a noticeable pitch difference while maintaining the rhythm and a casual feel to the piece. I have found embouchure change to be the most effective method although some help from the fingers is welcome in the few instances where the interval is greater than a semitone.

 

Pedagogical Value

Excellent for developing the flexibility of embouchure necessary for bending pitch and for exploring the softer end of the dynamic range.

Effectiveness in Performance

Very attractive. The jazzy quality makes it a good contrast to standard repertoire.

 

 

 

DOUGLAS, PAUL born 1936

SENIA

 

DURATION: 3´ INSTRUMENT: C flute or Oboe

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1977

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

This is a lively piece, vivacious and sprightly in character, that begins and ends with slower, more expressive sections. There are two motives which are developed extensively throughout the piece. The first is stated at the outset and the second after the introduction. The main part of the piece is in 4/4 while the slower sections are unmetered. This adds to the contrast between the sections and helps the performer think of the opening and closing in the manner of an improvisation.

 

Technical Challenges

Since this was conceived first as an oboe piece, it does not go as high as might otherwise be expected. Technical demands are not very great but there are some extended sixteenth note passages and some quicker runs. The rhythm is basically not difficult but the unmetered parts have some exceptions to the prevailing quarter note pulse and there are some quintuplets and sextuplets. There are some large leaps but they are tongued.

Other notes

The title is the first name of the person to whom the piece is dedicated.

Pedagogical Value

Good for consolidating all aspects of playing.

Effectiveness in Performance

Attractive. Traditional.

 

 

 

EVANS, ROBERT born 1933

THORONET

DURATION: 3’30’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Contemporary Showcase

DATE: 1971 LISTINGS: RCMT 8, CS 7-9

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

This piece was inspired by and depends on a resonant space such as a church. The phrasing and, more particularly, the pauses of varying length between the phrases allow the performer to control the amount of overlap between the decay of one phrase and the beginning of the next. The frequent tempo changes contribute to the expressive qualities of the piece. As might be expected the style is contemplative, even improvisatory in nature.

Technical Challenges

The range is predominantly e flat ‘ to g’’’. Low c’ and high a’’’ do occur, but rarely and in a context where they are not difficult. Although there are only two flats in the key signature, they are non-standard (G and E). Irregularly placed bar lines imply a constantly changing meter, almost always based on an eighth note pulse. The only rhythmic difficulties occur in occasional departures from this eighth note pulse. There are very few fast passages, but these are quite short. There are, however, many large intervals, usually slurred. Phrasing is quite comfortable. Breath marks indicate pauses of varying length determined by the performer in response to the ambient resonance. Dynamics suit the tessitura.

Other notes

The piece is subtitled "Homage to the cloisters and the church of the Abbey of Thoronet", a Cistercian abbey in Provence. The composer was inspired by the Romanesque architecture and the play of light and shadow on the stone. Although both the RCMT and the CS syllabi list availability through the CMC, this is not the case; however, Contemporary Showcase was finally able to track down a copy for me so I suggest contacting them.

Pedagogical Value

This piece gives the intermediate student a wonderful opportunity for personal expression. The need for pauses of varying length between the phrases will demand that the student develop an individual sense of pace and overall structure for the piece.

Effectiveness in Performance

This piece would be most effective as an opening for a recital in a church or other resonant space.

 

 

 

FLEMING, ROBERT 1921 - 1976

CHOREOGRAPHIC SKETCHES

 

DURATION: 5’40" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1965

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Each of the four movements of Choreographic Sketches has a distinct character and tempo based on classical ballet steps. "Ballotés" is fast and loud with a rhythm based on eighth and sixteenth notes. "Posés" is slow, soft and freely expressive. "Cabriole" is light and fast with a dotted 6/8 rhythm. "Pas de chat" is very fast and staccato. The last two movements are notable for their use of hemiola rhythms.

Technical Challenges

The highest note, a’’’, is used sparingly and is always preceded by an e’’’ or a rest. The most familiar time signatures are used and any changes within a movement keep the same beat. There are fast passages but all are idiomatic and without awkward changes. In addition to the hemiola rhythms, rhythmic challenges include triplets, sextuplets, dotted and double dotted notes. Whereas the piece as a whole uses a full range of dynamics, each movement has a fairly limited dynamic range with the exception of occasional echo effects which will require careful attention to intonation. A brief passage in the last movement calls for flutter tongue, but its use is optional.

 

Pedagogical Value

Good examples of syncopation and hemiola. Excellent intonation practice in echoes.

Effectiveness in Performance

Charming. Tuneful and rhythmically exciting. Could be performed with a dancer to add extra spark to a performance.

 

 

 

GLICK, SRUL IRVING born 1934

PETITE SUITE POUR FLUTE

DURATION: 3’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Gordon V. Thompson RECORDINGS: Dominion S-69005/6

(CMC Record 126)

DATE: 1960 LISTINGS: RCMT 6, CS 5-6

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

The three short movements that make up this piece exhibit an interesting contrast in styles. The first movement begins and ends with short sections marked "lento espressivo" while the middle section is "allegro agitato." The use of syncopation is striking in this movement -- almost as if the piece is struggling to escape from the confines of the meter. The second movement "andante" has a gently rocking quality, like a barcarole or a waltz, while the last movement is a "molto allegro" in an irregular 5/8 with a highly syncopated middle section in 2/4. The overall impression is of a tuneful piece with considerable rhythmic interest. The melodies and the rhythms are reminiscent of folk dances.

Technical Challenges

The range is a modest d’ to d’’’ with one appearance of c’ and two e flats’’’. Except for one short section the only pitches throughout this piece are F, F#, A, B flat, C and D. Some of these notes are occasionally expressed as their enharmonic equivalents for ease of reading.) The notes lie comfortably under the hand. Most of the piece is in simple meters but the last movement begins and ends in a 5/8 meter. Since the tempo is molto allegro, it will be necessary to think in two unequal beats per bar rather than simply giving each eighth note one beat; however, the pattern of the eighth note groups changes constantly. The difficulty is compounded by the frequent rests. Other than this, the only difficult rhythms occur in the first movement which has lots of syncopation, a quintuplet run and a figure which combines a dotted rhythm with ties. Syncopation must be handled deftly in an unaccompanied piece so that the relationship to the underlying beat is maintained. Various articulations and accents are called for as are a wide range of dynamics (ppp to ff), sometimes with sudden changes (e.g., sfp). The phrasing is clearly marked with obvious breathing places.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent introduction to 5/8 meter. Also good for developing dynamic range.

Effectiveness in Performance

Since each movement ends in a rather inconclusive way, this piece should not be last on a program.

 

 

 

KEETBAAS, DIRK born 1921

THREE MINIATURES for solo flute

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Jaymar RECORDINGS: RCA CCS-1009 (RCI 215/R200)

DATE: LISTINGS: RCMT 8

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

As the title implies, the piece consists of three short, contrasting movements. The first, "Mesto, Tranquillo" is graceful and introspective in nature. This is followed by a more intense "Allegro Moderato" and the piece ends with a playful "Allegro Scherzando." The piece as a whole exhibits a sense of escalating excitement in that each movement is faster and more articulated than the previous one. Each movement is based on a related twelve-tone row. Serial techniques of composition such as inversions and retrogrades are used but not followed in the strictest sense.

Technical Challenges

In addition to its characteristic musical style, each movement has its particular technical challenges. The first movement has the most difficult rhythm, with sixteenth note triplets and sextuplets as well as numerous ties which camouflage the meter. Octave slurs, which can be difficult to execute with rhythmic precision, are a recurring feature. The second movement is the most varied. It starts and ends with a simple melody in but has faster notes with more complicated rhythm and articulation in the middle which extend up to the top of the third octave. The third and fastest movement has extended passages of rapid articulation and a dynamic range of pp to ff. Since this is basically a serial composition, there is no key signature but there are many accidentals.

Pedagogical Value

This piece is a good vehicle for developing powers of expression. The performer should try to communicate a distinct "personality" for each movement.

Effectiveness in Performance

Varied. Each movement has a different character. Best programmed near the beginning.

 

 

 

KOPROWSKI, PETER PAUL born 1947

IMAGES II

DURATION: 5’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 1685

DATE: 1967, rev. 1980

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

Images II begins and ends with slow, meditative phrases interrupted by increasingly agitated outbursts. There are frequent, subtle changes of tempo. The middle section is an extended passage of disjunct staccato eighth notes with a more exaggerated sense of rubato. Although the score looks very traditional, the tonal vocabulary and dramatic dynamic changes give it a distinctly contemporary flavour.

Technical Challenges

Generally, Images II is of medium difficulty but occasional details make it more challenging. Although notes higher than g’’’ are rare, the range does extend up to c#’’’’. The rhythms are mostly easy, involving half, quarter and eighth notes, but rhythmic relationships of 5:4, 3:4, 7:2 and 3:2 do occur here and there. There are a few very long phrases where it may be necessary to break the slur to breathe. Dynamics are extreme and include several sudden changes. On the other hand, dexterity is not challenged and all the time signatures relate to the quarter note. Harmonics, flutter tonguing and pitch bending are the only special effects and they are used sparingly.

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity to develop an effective rubato without too many technical concerns. Also good for developing control of dynamics and figuring out a few difficult rhythmic relationships.

Effectiveness in Performance

Dramatic if played with good dynamic contrast and effective pacing. Restless, contemporary flavour.

 

 

 

LEVIN, GREGORY born 1943

DIALOGUES

DURATION: 5’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1978

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

Dialogues begins with a percussive rhythm that recurs later in the piece. This is followed by short melodic phrases that sound like calling. The pacing of the phrases and the block dynamics suggest a conversation between two different voices. The music then becomes more active with groups of faster notes, more rhythmic variety and wildly angular melodic contours. Multiphonics, trills, tremolos and flutter tonguing add to the excitement. The activity begins to settle down with irregular groups of repeated notes. Then, after a few echoes of previous material, it ends with the retrograde of the opening passage.

Technical Challenges

This piece will require agility, not because there are frequent fast passages but because there are a great many large, awkward leaps. Rhythmic difficulties are due to quintuplets over two beats, some with subdivisions. There are also some simple syncopations and off-beat rhythms. There are instances of double and triple tonguing and one passage where the tonguing syllables are specified (dgdd, gddg, ddgd.) Dynamic range is extreme in all registers and includes some sudden changes. The special effects are key clicks with and without tone, easy multiphonics, flutter tonguing, and singing while playing the same pitch. All but the key clicks are used sparingly.

Other notes

The score is very poorly edited--there is no indication of tempo and there are many omissions or mistakes.

Pedagogical Value

Good counting exercise in the passages containing numerous rests. Good introduction to multiphonics. The ones used here speak easily and can be sustained well.

Effectiveness in Performance

Rhythmically interesting. Mildly contemporary style.

 

 

 

LOWE, WESLEY ROBERT born 1953

SADLY, SOFTLY...THE RAIN

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

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1980

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Sadly, softly...the rain is a slow, meditative piece with a pervading air of melancholy. The phrases are almost entirely slurred and clearly defined by breath marks or rests of various lengths. Many of the phrases end with a fermata on the last note. Quite often, after the final pitch of a phrase is reached, there is a dip down to the lower neighbour and back up to the final pitch. A few glissandi add to the smoothly connected quality of the music. There is a timeless sense of repose and unhurried freedom to the piece. It is tempting to imagine the composer gazing out the window on a rainy day and letting his thoughts flow freely.

Technical Challenges

This piece is quite slow and without fast runs, so dexterity challenges are limited to a group of grace notes and some long trills. It does go down to a low B, but this note always occurs between two E naturals so agility of the right hand little finger is not a serious problem. The only special effects are glissandi ranging in scope from a semitone to a diminished fourth. These glissandi are difficult to execute smoothly, however. (One suggestion: for the d#" to g" glissando, be sure to put down the first finger of the left hand before sliding off the right hand fingers.) The piece is unmetered, but, with a few exceptions, the rhythm relates to a quarter note beat. The phrase lengths correspond very comfortably to the length of a breath and there is always ample breathing time.

Pedagogical Value

Very good for developing smooth phrasing.

Effectiveness in Performance

Sensitive and delicate. Could be effective as a concert opener.

 

 

 

MANN, LESLIE 1923-1977

SUITE FOR FLUTE SOLO, Opus 20B

DURATION: 10’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1963

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

Each of the three movements is a translation into music of a poem by W.H.Davies. The first poem, about the three stages of life (bud, flower, hard berry) "of plants and men," is portrayed by three statements of the same falling melody--first tender and delicate, then in full bloom, and finally weak and dying. The second poem, about rain falling on leaves, is illustrated with pairs of eighth notes as the raindrops and a modulation from minor to major mode when the sun comes out. The last poem, about the evils of the fox hunt, is depicted by running, jumping and galloping rhythms, as well as the sound of shots ringing out. The last movement contains references to the first movement, perhaps to symbolize the never-ending cycle of life.

Technical Challenges

Each movement has passages of fast notes which demand dexterity--"swooping" runs in the first movement, mordent-like figures in the second, and extended sixteenth-note passages as well as tremolos in the third. The third movement has the greatest rhythmic difficulties due to frequent syncopation. There are sudden dynamic changes and several instances of very soft high notes. There can be intonation problems in some passages in the second movement where the same notes are written successively in all three octaves.

Other notes

Suite for Flute Solo was written after three poems by William Henry Davies (1871-1940). The poems are reproduced in the score.

Pedagogical Value

Good exercise in musical interpretation of text.

Effectiveness in Performance

Conservative, highly programmatic. It would be a good idea to read the poems aloud or print them in the program.

 

 

 

MINARD, ROBIN born 1953

SOLO FOR FLUTE

DURATION: 3’45’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1975

LEVEL: Medium difficult

Musical Style

The phrasing relates directly to the natural rhythms of breathing, both in the lengths of the phrases themselves and in the rests of varying lengths that separate them. The piece begins with slow ascending phrases in the low register separated by long rests. As the notes become higher and more active in subsequent phrases, the rests become shorter. In this way the rests contribute to the sense of repose in the quiet parts and the sense of excitement in the active parts. Accelerandos and ritardandos reinforce the changing moods and add an expressive quality to the piece as a whole. The piece is in four sections delineated by very long rests. The last two sections quote increasingly from the opening section. The piece ends with an accelerando and a crescendo, literally on a high note!

Technical Challenges

Technical demands are moderate, due to the fairly slow tempo (quarter = 72) and the use of relatively slow-moving note values. There is only one extended run of sixteenth notes ending with a septuplet. The range is extreme — from c’ to d’’’’, although notes above g’’’ are used very sparingly. The meter is basically 3/4 with some 6/4 and 2/4 bars but the quarter note pulse remains constant. Tempo changes in the form of accelerandos and ritardandos are frequent but unrelated to the meter changes. Aside from the many quarter note triplets and some syncopation, the rhythm is not complex. There are many slurs over large intervals. Dynamics range from p to ff and include some rather soft high notes.

Pedagogical Value

Quarter note triplets are a good way of getting the feel of 3:2 rhythmic relationships. Good introduction to high d’’’’.

Effectiveness in Performance

Very effective.

 

 

 

PAPINEAU-COUTURE, JEAN born 1916

DÉPART

DURATION: 2’30" INSTRUMENT: Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 2137

DATE: 1974

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

The overall character of Départ is one of sensitivity and expressiveness. The phrasing falls into the natural patterns of speech, with the intervening rests setting the pace--the longer rests lending an air of repose and the shorter rests giving a sense of urgency. The dynamics are extremely important, not only in the subtle shaping of phrases, but also in the dramatic relationship of one phrase to another. Long notes predominate, interrupted by trills, tremolos or flurries of fast notes. Not surprisingly for an alto flute piece, the pitch range is low, only rarely and briefly venturing into the third octave (written pitch).

Technical Challenges

On average, this is a piece of medium difficulty, but the challenges of rhythm and dynamics should not be overlooked. Among the rhythmic complexities are some instances of five notes over two beats, double and triple-dotted notes, various subdivisions of the beat and a written-out accelerando dividing the beat into 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. The dynamics range from ppp to ff and include many sudden changes. An interesting recurring device that will require close attention to intonation is the reiteration of a pitch with different dynamics. Great dexterity is not a prime consideration in this piece, but there are long tremolos and trills that must be played evenly. The frequent large intervals require a supple embouchure. The only special effect is flutter tonguing, but this is used only on very low notes and at extremely soft dynamic levels. This can be achieved more successfully using the throat rather than the tongue, but is difficult nonetheless. The phrases are generally short and clearly defined by rests.

Pedagogical Value

Best attempted by those who are already very comfortable with flutter tonguing.

Effectiveness in Performance

Subtle and introspective. Well suited to the alto flute.

 

 

 

PAPINEAU-COUTURE, JEAN born 1916

J’AIME LES TIERCES MINEURES

DURATION: 6’45" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: Editions Musicales Transatlantiques

DATE: 1976 LISTINGS: CS 7-9

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Since the title means "I love minor thirds," it is no surprise that the piece is based on this interval. Minor thirds are explored in a variety of ways--in runs, melodies, tremolos, rhythmic material, evolving from other intervals or just oscillating freely. Far from being only dry and academic, the minor third gives a satisfying unity to this through-composed piece. The prevailing tempo is moderate with some changes to faster and slower tempos. These tempo changes combined with the unmetered notation give a sense of freedom to the piece, almost like a playful improvisation.

Technical Challenges

Although standard notation is used, there is no time signature and therefore no bar lines. Despite the lack of meter, the notes are, with notable exceptions, written as though they relate to a quarter note beat. The type of written out accelerando or decelerando which employs a fanning out of beams from one to three or more appears frequently. The only other notation which may be unfamiliar relates to the special effects, which include flutter tonguing, harmonics, key clicks and a multiphonic. These are clearly notated with special fingerings given when needed; however, the written instructions at the beginning are unnecessarily confusing since they include items which do not occur in the piece and omit some which do occur, for example, the "x" through the stem of a note that denotes a key click. The one multiphonic (a minor third, of course) is used several times and is always presented with good preparation. This particular multiphonic speaks easily but is difficult to sustain steadily. The trills and tremolos call for even finger technique, but there are no extended fast runs. The range, rhythm and dynamics, while they fall into the "difficult" category, are within the reach of an intermediate player.

Pedagogical Value

Good as a first step beyond standard notation and as an introduction to simple extended techniques.

Effectiveness in Performance

Mildly contemporary idiom.

 

 

 

PENTLAND, BARBARA born 1912

SONATINA FOR SOLO FLUTE

DURATION: 7’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC RECORDINGS: CMC Tape 933B

DATE: 1954 LISTINGS: RCMT 9, CS 7-9

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Each of the three short movements has a distinct character. The first movement, marked "Andante tranquillo," is serene and lyrical with a simple yet expressive quality. The second movement "Allegro" is a marked contrast with its jazzy rhythms, flashes of sixteenth notes and restless tempo changes. The piece ends with an "Allegretto giocoso" which, although fast, has a smooth and carefree mood. All three movements cover a wide pitch and dynamic range. Although the piece is atonal, its style is pleasantly melodic.

Technical Challenges

The full range of the flute is used (c’ to c#’’’’) but the highest part does include an alternative bringing the highest note down to g#’’’. Although there is no key signature, the player must remain alert to the frequent accidentals. The dexterity required varies according to the movement: the first movement is easy, except for one g#-a trill, the second movement has some awkward passages in the extremes of the range, and the third movement is easy except for some long scale-like passages. The first movement features frequent changes of meter, but the quarter note remains constant. Regarding rhythm, the first movement is easy with some simple syncopation, the second has lots of rhythmic variety made up of various eighth and sixteenth note combinations, lots of syncopation and ties over bar lines, while the third is easy. There are some challenges in the articulation including sudden changes, slurs over large intervals and staccatos in the extreme low range. The length of phrases varies considerably but is usually easily manageable except for a couple of long ascending passages which include crescendos. Breathing places are obvious. The dynamic range is p to ff, but generally follows the contour of the music (i.e. crescendos on ascending passages). The first movement has interesting "hairpin" dynamics that serve to underscore the meter. The notation is standard with no extended techniques.

Other notes

This is the earliest solo flute piece in the Canadian Music Centre library.

Pedagogical Value

This would be a good piece for developing aspects of style including dynamic range, variety of articulation, tempo changes and expression.

Effectiveness in Performance

This is an attractive, accessible, well-crafted piece that, due to its changing character, keeps the audience interested.

 

 

 

PERRY, ANITA D. born 1960

PAN

DURATION: 2’40" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1979

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Pan is a light, impressionistic piece that follows in the tradition of the many flute pieces inspired by this subject matter. The languid, exotic melody that forms the basis of the piece develops into faster moving sections twice. The first time it moves gradually into repeated or sequential patterns of smoothly running quintuplets and sextuplets. After a brief return to material derived from the opening, the mood changes abruptly to a loud, rhythmic, highly articulated section featuring triplet sixteenth notes. The ending dies away slowly.

Technical Challenges

Although the rhythm, articulation and dynamics are categorized as difficult, the challenges are not out of reach for an intermediate player. The performer must take care to play triplets over two beats evenly and to make a distinction between duple and triple divisions of the beat. Other than some triple tonguing on repeated pitches the articulation is not at all difficult. The dynamics range from pp to ff but the dynamic extremes are appropriate for the tessitura. There are some echo effects where intonation is a concern.

Pedagogical Value

Good opportunity for freedom of expression.

Effectiveness in Performance

Free and romantic. Good concert opener or encore.

 

 

 

SCHUDEL, THOMAS born 1937

VALENTINES

DURATION: 9’15’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1987

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Valentines consists of seven contrasting movements, each under two minutes in length. They are all modal, the first being Dorian, the next Phrygian, then Aeolian. That pattern is repeated for the next three and the last movement is Dorian again. Some easily understood but interesting formal structures are used. For example, the first movement, in ternary form, includes the inversion of the opening in the restatement of the A section. The fifth movement is based on a nine note "skeleton" which is gradually "fleshed out" by the addition of other notes each time it is repeated -- like a condensed version of theme and variations. Stylistically, each movement has a different character: gently flowing, angular, jaunty, etc. The last movement is the most exciting because of its obvious meter changes.

Technical Challenges

The piece does go up to b’’’, but notes above g’’’ are rare - a sprinkling of high As and one each of B and B flat. Key signatures go up to two sharps and four flats, but there is not one accidental in the entire piece. Syncopated rhythms are frequent, but otherwise the rhythms and meters are straightforward except for the second movement which is in 5/4 time with several quarter note triplets, and the last movement which has occasional 3/8 bars within the prevailing 2/4 meter. Although there are few rests, breathing places are plentiful after the longer notes; however it is not always easy to decide on the best place to breathe. Dynamics generally stay within p - f with an occasional ff on high notes or pp on low notes.

Pedagogical Value

This is an excellent piece for an intermediate student. Each movement has a challenging aspect while remaining less demanding in other ways.

Effectiveness in Performance

Pleasant.

 

 

 

SMITH, LINDA CATLIN born 1957

LA CELINE

DURATION: 4’ INSTRUMENT: Baroque flute or modern C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

La Celine is a rather slow, languid piece, introspective in nature. Although there is no time signature, there is an underlying eighth note pulse = 72 in the first half of the piece which changes to a quarter note pulse = 72 in the second half. Subtle tempo changes and fermatas give the rhythm a sense of freedom and "stretching out." The dynamics are similarly relaxed, never rising above mf and usually serving to give shape to the phrasing. There are some grace notes and trills but the overall mood is calm.

Technical Challenges

Dexterity is only needed for the grace notes and trills. These are significantly more difficult on the baroque flute because of the awkward fingerings (c’’’, b’’, b flat’’, a flat’’). There are a few instances of rhythms which do not fit in with the prevailing pulse and a few other difficult rhythms. Articulation is all tongued except for the grace notes. There are many breath marks as well as additional obvious breathing places.

Other notes

Celine is the name of a cat who "moved like a melody."

Pedagogical Value

Good introduction to unmeasured notation.

Effectiveness in Performance

Quiet, unassuming piece in traditional style. Program between fast pieces.

 

 

 

STEVEN, DONALD born 1945

JUST A FEW MOMENTS ALONE

DURATION: 3’30’’ INSTRUMENT: Alto flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1984

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Just a Few Moments Alone is gentle and meditative in style. The piece is generally soft, mostly marked p or pp and never rising above mf. The melodic line is like a vocalise, gently rising and falling and with the natural pace of breathing. The rhythm, although precisely notated, gives the impression of improvisation. This effect is enhanced by the liberal use of subtle tempo changes.

Technical Challenges

Rhythm is the most challenging aspect of this piece. The intention seems to be to avoid reference to a steady beat or recurring meter. There is no time signature but there are bar lines creating bars of irregular length, some conforming to a particular beat unit, others not. There are many tempo changes and complex rhythms. There are very few real accidentals, but so many redundant naturals are used that the piece looks unnecessarily cluttered and is therefore more difficult to read. Some articulation markings are ambiguous, such as dotted slurs and slurs that start out normally but become dotted. The piece is soft, often very soft. mf is used only rarely as a kind of punctuation. Key clicks are used, but only sparingly within groups of normal notes.

Other notes

The piece can also be played on soprano saxophone. If desired, a simple tape loop and reverb may be used to create a "harmonic ambience."

Pedagogical Value

Very good piece for developing expression at soft dynamic levels.

Effectiveness in Performance

Subtle but expressive. Conservative.

 

 

 

SULLIVAN, TIMOTHY born 1954

FLUTE SONG

DURATION: 2’30" INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1978

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

Flute song is smooth and sinuous with an overall arch form. It starts and ends very softly with slowly moving lines in the lower two octaves. The middle section grows more active, louder and higher--although never higher than g’’’. The middle is also more turbulent because of several tempo changes. The rhythm is written very precisely to give the impression that it is not tied to a steady beat. If the rhythm is played exactly as written, the effect will be, paradoxically, that it is very free.

Technical Challenges

The rhythm is the most challenging aspect of this piece. Not only are the rhythms difficult, but they must sound as though they are being played with effortless ease, as though improvising. There are frequent shifts between duple and triple division of the beat which are complicated further with ties. There are also runs involving 5, 6 or 9 notes per beat, but these are less difficult rhythmically than they are technically. Other than these few runs, there is no challenge to dexterity since the piece is rather slow. Dynamics range from ppp al niente to ff, but the loudest markings are for the highest notes. The challenge, then, is to play softly enough in the really quiet places and still keep the tone quality and intonation. There are also many subtle crescendos and diminuendos. Almost all phrases are slurred and there are many obvious breathing places.

Pedagogical Value

Excellent piece for working on rhythm, especially shifts between duple and triple division of the beat.

Effectiveness in Performance

Impressionistic. Conservative.

 

 

 

TELFER, NANCY born 1950

LOVE IS A SACRED FEAST

DURATION: 3’ INSTRUMENT: C flute or piccolo

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 1986

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

This piece begins with a short rubato section in a slow and contemplative mood, in the low to medium range. After an eight bar introduction, the tempo becomes more strict (quarter = 88) and the note values speed up. The overall impression is one of escalating excitement, with gradually more extended flurries of high notes. Although the time signature changes frequently the quarter note pulse remains constant. This serves to give the piece an improvisatory feel while keeping the beat steady. Since the tonality is strictly pentatonic throughout, the piece has a pleasantly melodic sonority. The range is mostly middle and high.

Technical Challenges

Considerable finger dexterity is needed because of the extended passages of 16th notes in the high register (up to a’’’); however the difficulty is moderated somewhat by the pentatonic writing which uses only the pitches G, A, C, D and E. The rhythm is not complicated. It is based on a quarter note pulse with groups of sixteenth notes and patterns of two sixteenths followed by an eighth with occasional ties and longer note values. There is one bar of sextuplets at the end. Breathing places are well marked, but I find some of them interrupt the musical flow of the phrases and would be better omitted if possible. Good breath control is necessary since there is often very little time to breathe.

Other notes

Written as a wedding gift for friends of the composer, the music is intended to express a celebration of a personal sort.

Pedagogical Value

Very good as a way of developing even and rapid finger technique in the high range. Also useful for learning to take quick "catch" breaths.

Effectiveness in Performance

Attractive, accessible, joyful and exuberant. Traditional in style. Program cautiously if the piece is to be performed on piccolo -- the range is quite high!

 

 

 

TREMAIN, RONALD born 1923

TWO PIECES FOR SOLO FLUTE

DURATION: 6’35’’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC

DATE: 198?

LEVEL: Medium

Musical Style

The titles of the two movements, "Hommage à Debussy" and "Hommage à Ravel" give a clear indication of the inspiration for this composition. References to works of these two composers are apparent throughout, as are occasional allusions to their compositional styles, but the work itself could not really be called impressionistic. Both movements are the same tempo (quarter = ca. 60 - 66), but there is much use of rubato.

Technical Challenges

Demands on agility are moderate, including some runs with a written-in accelerando. There are many subtle rhythmic relationships involving the division of the beat into 3, 4 or 5 equal notes as well as several rubato markings and tempo changes. Other rhythmic challenges include triplets over two beats and quadruplets over three beats (the latter used only in one phrase). There are several instances of triplets slurred in pairs, but otherwise articulation is not complicated. Dynamics range from pp to ff.

Pedagogical Value

It would be interesting to compare this composition with flute pieces from the impressionist period.

Effectiveness in Performance

Conservative.

 

 

 

WEINZWEIG, JOHN born 1913

RIFFS

DURATION: 14’ INSTRUMENT: C flute

AVAILABILITY: CMC, RECORDINGS: CMC Tapes 883B, 1012, 1137A

International Music Sales

DATE: 1974

LEVEL: Medium Difficult

Musical Style

As the title suggests, Riffs is a collection of short jazzy figures. Each of the twelve movements has its own character, but all are related by the Blues style and have an improvisatory feel. This is not a jazz piece, however, but a thoroughly contemporary piece inspired by jazz styles. Although the rhythm generally conforms to a specific beat unit (usually the quarter note), there is no sense of meter. Special effects are used in almost every movement. One movement is almost entirely based on a single note with inflections of colour, dynamic, pitch and rhythm. Typically for this composer, rhythmic relationships are highly sophisticated. A recurring pedal G appears in many of the movements as a unifying factor.

Technical Challenges

Aside from one indication for "highest possible note," the range is up to b’’’, but notes above g#’’’ are rarely used and then in only three of the movements. There are no time signatures, but the rhythms almost always relate to the quarter note. The rhythmic challenges are mainly due to the many quarter note triplets and, to a lesser extent, moderately complicated divisions of the beat, especially divisions of triplets. Double and triple tonguing are needed occasionally. The dynamics cover the full range--one movement even alternates between pppp and ffff. Special effects include flutter tonguing, vocal effects, specific vibrato speeds, colour trills, smorzato, stopped tongue and harmonics. The phrases are quite short with frequent rests and many places to breathe. There are a few fast runs, grace note groups and trills, but demands on dexterity are not great. A low B fingering is specified for one of the colour trills but an alternative can easily be found if a flute with C foot is used.

Pedagogical Value

An enjoyable introduction to unmetered notation, demanding rhythms and special effects.

Effectiveness in Performance

Contemporary idiom with a jazz flavour. Interesting and enjoyable.

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