Sunday, February 28, 2021

Paula Robison - Moyse as Mentor

Dear Flutelovers,

I'm just so glad that a member of one of the flute email groups alerted us to this inspiring interview with Paula Robison. Excellent! Love the mood!

Have a lovely listen! It's called the Muse Mentors podcast and here's the flute episode:

 Karen Kevra interviews Paula Robison about her mentor: Marcel Moyse

Enjoy! Jen

Friday, February 19, 2021

An insightful article for every flute level


Dear Flute-lovers,

This month there are some more great free articles to read from Flutetalk Magazine! I've chosen three, below.

This Magazine is continuing to offer free flutey reading during lockdown, and there is an article of interest to every level of flutist in the past 10 months of publication:  See all free flute articles from Flutetalk here, and click on any issue from March 2020 to February 2021.

February Issue 2021:

Firstly, this is a great, simple way to look at finger co-ordination and balance: article 1.

And I absolutely LOVED this article that explains so much about how air-pressure and amount of air used are figured out when you're working alone, without a teacher, and using a recording machine to listen back to one feature at a time: article 2.

And finally, truly musical inspiration:

There's a third article on how to use Marcel Moyse's  Book: Tone Development Through Interpretation. I worked through some of this book during my final two years at University (eek: 1980s!), and am super super interested in continuing to investigate all the musical sources that are now online to listen to!

See the book: Tone Development Through Interpretation: (sample pages at Fluteworld.) And the cover of this well-known publication is below left.

And here is an informative quote from this month's article in Flutetalk: How to Use Moyse's Opera Melody Book. 

And even more excitingly, here's the original Forward in translation from the Moyse Society!

(quote from the Flutetalk article):

"Tone Development develops a desire in students to play with artistry. Those who regularly and consistently play these melodies as beautifully as they can will reach for all the subtleties and emotions they can summon from all the music they play.

   Students who have not heard the operas performed will benefit from working with the book, but only with knowledge of the text, plot, and accompanying harmonies can they fully benefit from these melodies. After many years of working with the book I decided to listen to every opera in it. If recordings were available I taped each melody, summarized the story of each scene, and copied the relevant section of the libretto. This was the only way I could fully explore the emotional shades expressed in each excerpt, and I think this study brought my playing to a new level. Students should at least find a few recordings with full libretti. Perhaps some enterprising person will write a companion volume to Tone DevelĀ­opment and include piano reductions and a C.D." (end quote)


Gosh, I really hope someone takes up this idea and creates piano reductions on a CD/mp3 for these hundred or more short excerpts from the Opera repertoire. That would be amazing!!

Here is a link to Moyse recordings on youtube (if you've never heard them before....get ready and prepare your ears for recording techniques from 1910!! doh!).

And as discussed in the Moyse Flutetalk article, again,  the Forward to TDTI from The Moyse Society Newsletter on how best to utilize the book ( taken from the 1986 translation) is well worth printing out to put inside your copy of the book. (download pdf).

And to inspire those who wish to make their flute sound like singers, let this performance inspire you; it gave me goosebumps! (video)

Bellini's Norma - Aria sung with incredible control of the airstream.

Here's the flute and piano version of the opening (click on jpg to enlarge):

Arranged by Cottignes as theme & variations

Enjoy these free articles, and this Opera insight. It's a true exploration of our musical history and language! And do check out the first and second articles linked above for great explanations of basic skills as you develop your flute playing to a whole new level. We have the time, we just need the insights!

Comments welcome.

Best, Jen

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Alison Fierst & Robert Langevin interviews


Dear Flute-lovers,
Fabulous listening online! A new, young fabulous flutist has joined the New York Philharmonic and what a wonderful set of interviews!!

Principal Chairs:  interview with Alison Fierst, a facebook (video).
(NB: you don't have to join facebook to see Principal Chairs Flute videos. Just click "not now" when it's offered.)

Jan 13 2020 interview with Alison Fierst: (audio only video)

Jan 6 2020 interview with Robert Langevin: (audio only video)

And as she is a great lover of Alto Flute tone colours and low register, have a listen to Debussy's Beau Soir performed by Alison Fierst (video)

Best, Jen

Friday, January 08, 2021

Beauty in Simplicity

Dear Flute-lovers,

Although this is not strictly flute-centric, ha ha, it is calming for the soul.

Handel's Sarabande in G minor (video

for 2 oboes, 2 violins, viola and basso continuo From the opera 'Almira', HWV 1 (No. 4)

What I absolutely adore is the Lute playing that weaves among the chords. Wait for simple, so flute-able......

Peace is what we need now. And this peace and simplicity is speaking to us from 1705! Thank you Handel! I've never enjoyed his work more than now!


Best, Jen

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Super Shortest Headjoint You'll Ever See!

Dear Flutelovers,

Fast forward to the flute solos! And oops... don't spill your beverage on your keyboard as your jaw drops open in wonder!  Is that not the shortest flute headjoint you've ever seen? And played beautifully too!

Victoria Symphony - 30 day limited video

I'm a flute teaching neighbour of Richard Volet of the Victoria Symphony and wrote to him to ask about the headjoint that seems to be cork-less AND crown-less.

Richard replied:

Hi Jen:

Here's the story. I made this headjoint between fifteen and twenty years ago. I made two of them. The idea is simple. Everyone fools around with different stoppers and crown assemblies, which do indeed influence the sound. 

My thought was that all of that hardware (including the diamonds and rubies) is extraneous and interfering, so why not do away with it and simply end the tube with no extra apparatus and weight. 

I can't tell you if it is better, I would have to have made tons of them, and even then, it's the same old impossible comparison as different metals. 

My intuition and my sense playing this headjoint is that it is better.

 Back to the story. For fifteen or twenty years the headjoint has been sitting on my window ledge in the basement. A year or so ago I picked it up, played it a bit, looked at it, and thought I could improve it, so I recut it. I guess I didn't like it so I put it back on the window ledge. 

A month or so ago, I noticed it there one morning, took it upstairs to practice and have been playing it since. When I initially made it and cut off the north end where it should be, I got confused when measuring and trimming the south/tenon end, and I cut that off too short by around a centimeter, so it's short on both ends!

Feel free to post my story and a link to the video, on your website or FB. It will only be up for streaming for 30 days.

__________________end quote

Comments welcome! Yay for inventors!!!

Jen :>)

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Huge resource flute sheetmusic & playalongs


Dear Flute-Lovers,

Thousands of flute and piano pieces are now being made available in midi and pdf on disc and thumbdrives from the Clarinet Institute of Los Angeles.

One well-loved teacher on our Flutenet discussion group has been telling us how good this HUGE flute sheetmusic collection is. (Naturally, neither of us has any relationship with this company. We just like heaps of cheap-per-score classic flute sheetmusic in pdfs that are screen readable and/or printable!)

Well, the same sheetmusic company has just started putting out Midi accompaniment tracks for their Flute sheetmusic Volumes  1-4 too!

So far, they have made available the midi soundfiles on disc/drive for playing along with the sheetmusic of flute/piano collection Vol. 1.


About the matching playalong midi tracks - from the site's text (quote):

"Sound Files work on both PC and Mac. There are two types of files in this archive: 

1. MP3 Files - These files provide high quality sound and can be played by your computer, your home stereo system or even through your phone or tablet. 

2. Midi Files - These files are played with a midi player. A midi player can either be built in or connected to your computer. It can even be a standalone keyboard.

A lot, but not all, of the music from the Flute Archive, Volume 1 is included in this archive. Please scroll down to see a complete listing of the music included.

There are many different ways to play the music files in this archive: 

1. Play either the disc or the thumb drive on your computer and use your computer speakers or headphones for the sound. 

2. If your sound system has a USB port, you can play directly from the thumb drive.

3. Load the files to your phone, tablet or cloud. You can then broadcast the music via bluetooth or wifi to your bluetooth speakers or sound system.

4. Load the midi files onto a midi keyboard

5. Load the files onto your computer and play them anywhere using your home network.

These are just a few suggestions. Getting the music from the MP3 or MIDI files to your speakers is limited only by technology and your imagination. This is computer generated music rendered with high quality software that makes it sound like the real thing."

___________end quote

See the entire flute sheetmusic collection here in Vols. 1-4.

See the playalong midi for Vol. 1 here.

That's a heck of a lot of future sheetmusic even if 70% of it turns out just to be for amusement, and you'd never actually perform, or even print it.

And, note: Many of these old editions of sheetmusic are full of erroneous dynamics, slurs, and missing whatnots that are not urtext (!) etc. etc.

So they aren't GREAT printed editions in the first place; in fact they're so quirky, they're in public domain.

 ie: Don't believe the Bach!!!!! 

But it's a great little rabbit warren of music to play through if they're going to make good affordable midi accompaniments for those zillion of us who are in hobbity lockdown!

Enjoy this resource! 

Folk say the midi playalongs audio sound is of surprisingly good quality!

Best, Jen

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Gareth Davies of London - Interview

Interview with Davies on Principal Chairs

Dear Flute-Lovers,

The free flute films that are on Principal Chairs (featuring the excellent Michael Cox among other great flutists), has been a pleasure to follow all through our "hometime". One of the interviews that I enjoyed the most for the honesty and truth about the life of fluting was the one featuring London Symphony Principal Flutist Gareth Davies

Link to Interview: (no Facebook membership is required to view this film)

Loved it. Recommend. Fabulous.

Additionally, in searching around Gareth's extensive internet presence I also found a fun film of "A Day in the Life in the London Symphony" (video) by Gareth as well. And if like me (or like all of us during these times), you like to live vicariously, you might enjoy it. :>)

During lockdown, he's also playing duets with the best player he can find, who he's known all his life: Duet video.

And for an extra added bonus, Gareth's LSO co-principal, Adam Walker, has a masterclass up to view as well. (video)

Enjoy and feel free to comment!

Best, Jen