Monday, November 14, 2022

Prokofiev Classical Symphony Update


(to enlarge, click on photo)
Dear Flutelovers,
Eleven years ago ago I re-wrote the final movement of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony op. 25, for both flute players to switch to piccolos and play all the high Ds and all the difficult intersecting slurry eighth note bits on piccolo, instead of maiming themselves for months trying to play it the way it is actually written. 
The audible flute solos in the Finale are still on Flute, but the rest is quite relaxing to play comparatively.
And over the years I've received quite a few emails* that say "Whew!! Thanks for saving us HOURS of work Jen!" from grateful amateur players who feel that I've 'saved their bacon' with this easier re-write.
So I am pleased that it has worked out! And thanks to the eagle eyes of one player, who emailed today, I even found a bar missing from my original pdf of the parts, and so now have updated the score and parts with several small corrections and my Flute1&2/piccolo pdfs are all new and worth trying out in your own living room! Play along with the videos below and compare and contrast!

 In the emails and comments with thanks* that I've received from flutists trying out this Prokofiev piccolo re-write in performance, apparently, not once has a conductor yet noticed that the flute players were switching instruments. So you never know, the focus may not be on the flutes after all, but on the strings ha ha.
So try it. Just get your piccolo and flute out and learn how to do fast switches in cut time (hint: use your lap) and try out my free pdf parts:

This is the tempo it does go at, so be ready with your quick picc switches: (video starts at fourth mvmt.)

If you want to compare how all this works, and you don't have the parts that Prokofiev originally wrote, here are the original flute parts at IMSLP (you may have to wait 15 second for the free pdf at imslp's Prokofiev op.25 parts library).

We should all be able to focus on the gorgeous flute parts in the first three movements, and be able to have a fun piccolo time in the Finale, at least that's my theory for non-panic-making playing. I mean, what's with pianists-who-avoid-piccolo-switches-in-their-first-symphony-EVER anyway? Don't they know how super-fast we can do it?  (see my photo of Prokofiev at the top of the blogpost to see what I think he's thinking. :>)

My original post was from 2009 with more positive player-feedback in the comments there, and a bit more info. about how and why I did this. And the pdf parts and score links there are all updated too. So help yourselves. 
Now to update the REST of my website, hahahaha. Wow that'll take all winter if I start now! (Some of it is from 2001!! Eeek.)
Best, Jen
Notes from a happy picc-switcher:
* Dear Jen,
A thousand thanks for your excellent transformation of the Flute 1 and Flute 2 parts in the Finale of Prokofiev’s 1st Symphony.  You have saved me and my colleague hours and weeks of work which then in the end would only have produced a less than satisfactory result.  We’ve both taken out our piccolos and used the parts at our last two rehearsals and unless I’m much mistaken, I seem to recall the conductor said “Flutes – Brilliant!” at the end of the movement, having not even noticed that we were playing piccolos.  Now we can relax a little and enjoy the wonderful music, thank you so much. 
With best wishes  H

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Composer An-lun Huang; beautiful music


Dear Flutelovers,
 In my hunt for new repertoire that is absolutely beautiful,  a piece of music has surfaced this week that I had never heard before, even though it was written in 1981 by composer An-lun Huang, who now resides in Toronto. Here it is in all its glory. Wow, how beautiful is THIS?

An-lun Huang/黄安伦 
Dance-Poem No.1 for Flute and Piano -  Op.31 No.1 (video)
The composer is only a little more than a decade older than I am!

Huang Anlun was born in 1949 and showed an early interest in music and in particular in composition. He studied at the Central Conservatory in Beijing between 1961 and 1968 and in 1976 was appointed resident composer with the Central Opera in Beijing. In 1980 Huang undertook further study at the University of Toronto, moving later to Yale. His compositions include the operas Flower Guardian and Yue Fei, the ballets The Little Match Girl and Dream of Dun Huang, and a number of orchestral works. prize in 1986.
Enjoy this work! Hope it's new to you as well! :>)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Scottish Baroque; beautiful music

 Well I do love a good piece of Scottish music, that's for sure. And what a lovely set of pieces this is, by Scottish composer James Oswald (1711-1769) arranged by Jan Boland for two flutes (or violins) and cello: Oswald's Airs for the Four Seasons.

I just listened to them, and they are beautiful! (and I am no way connected to the publication, I just came across them when Jan wrote about them online this evening.)

She wrote: They are very successful in performance and rewarding to perform.  This new Alry publication is published in score form, each player playing from a full score, with no page turns within movements, which allows for efficient rehearsals and confident performances. 

Boland has published eight out of the original forty-eight by Oswald, and they are named for the season and the flower and she says she chose those that had the most hints of Celtic influence. The works are comprised of short airs, andantes, cantabiles and affetuosos in AABB form, and she suggests you perform them as bookends with the Haydn London Trios. How marvelous!

See sample pages and read more about them.

Listen  to four of the eight sets on Soundcloud.

I was looking for new music that was worthy, and instead found very old music that is so very worthy. Thanks to new arrangers who know quality when they hear it. :>)

Best, Jen

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Wonderful Outspokeness


This week we lost one of the most enthusiastic flute players of the 20th Century, the wonderfully outspoken, Atarah Ben-Tovim. 

Enjoy these wonderful interviews!
First Interview (audio-only video 1)
Second Interview (audio only video 2)

Atarah playing Elgar's "Nursery Suite" on wooden flute with The  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra  (video starts at minute 4:48):

When she speaks she so reminds me of my own enthusiasm levels!! :>D
Full of the good life-force!

P.S. On one of the flute email groups Wissam Boustany who often worked alongside Atarah at competitions and flute events wrote about knowing her:

"Atarah was not someone you could figure out easily. She was such a combination of overwhelming yet contradicting energies...she was a rebel and a traditionalist rolled into one, a larger-than-life presence yet in her heart she saw herself as more of a team player and orchestral player rather than a soloist. Her passion for working with children inspired and initiated countless young players (especially young girls) to take up and love the flute. And she was ferociously loyal to the wooden flute she loved."

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Still Here, Still Thinking

Dear Flute-Lovers, I'm still here, and just wanted you to know that. :>)

The world of flute has gone somewhat quiet on the internet, I find. Not much chat on the email groups. Perhaps those who are on Facebook and other platforms know what's going on, (and could clue me in, perhaps! :>) but it's so quiet, I can only imagine that recovery from lockdown wind-blown anxiety is slow.

I'm still spending a great deal of time outdoors doing completely different things other than music, (though I do find myself bursting into song.). I'm still removing invasive plants, because we've had an unaccountable stretch of fine weather for the past ten weeks, and this is the time to get it done! So sorry if you're waiting for huge flutey-breakthroughs. 

When I do play flute, I find I play 

- slow celtic airs

- J.S. Bach (slowly and with Piazzolla flourishes all abounding), and

- Rhonda Larson pieces that make chords in the air, like "Lughnasa",  "Be Still My Soul" and "Movin' On". These are gorgeous things played super super slowly with HUGE tone colour in an echoey room.

Of course I'm super rusty, but it's coming along.....

So just to let you know I am here.....and more to come!

Still here, still thinking.

Use the comment button to share you thoughts, if you like.

Best, Jen

Monday, August 22, 2022

A Song of Dusk Unfolding

 Dear Flute-lovers,

Like all of us, I'm seeking stunningly beautiful flute pieces, always.

This month, a truly gorgeous one showed up. Like a tall poppy it stands head and shoulders above others of its kind. Wow. Enjoy!

A Song of Dusk Unfolding by Bonnie McAlvin

Beautiful use of multiphonics to create gorgeous chords:

Listen on SoundCloud

Buy the sheetmusic in pdf

Read more: Bonnie McAlvin, Flutist and Composer

Best, Jen

(...still getting back in the swing of things....had to get a new crawlspace, new roof and new decking, and I'm still doing pruning and hedge trimming. Playing JS Bach and will share...)

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Audio - Sheridon Stokes


Dear Flute-lovers,

Sheridon Stokes (1935-2022) being interviewed with amazing flute audio!

In 2021 Sheridon spoke about his career as a studio musican in Hollywood, and his many collaborations with John Williams, composer.

Fabulous listening! Wow! So many of these flute solos are so familiar if you grew up as a movie lover too!

Wonderful interview. So well done! Enjoy!