Sunday, January 25, 2009

Blast from the past; flute music from the '70s

Dear Fluters,

What a blast from the past!!!
I met another Canadian flutist from approximately the same era as I come from (born the '60s, started playing flute at 11) and we discovered that we both used to come straight home after school and play and play and play along to this LP ( An LP stands for "long play" recording. A disc made of black vinyl) of flute and guitar/strings/voice/percussion music.

The 'formative years' album for us was the LP from a Quebec group called Harmonium and I have to say that aside from Beethoven,Brahms and Mahler symphonies (which my mum played on the record player every chance she got) that this flute music affected my love of music intensely throughout my formative years. When I listen to it now, I still sing along in phoenetic French, and have no idea what the words are, but just wail away happily.:>)

Yes, it sounds like simple music for flute (and even a bit breathy and out of tune), but this LP was responsible for at least TWO kids playing flute for hours everyday.
Back then, I recall, I jammed along with it until I knew it, and then wrote down the notes: F#, E, big capitol letters.
Now that, my dudey friends, is inspiration!!

Harmonium Histoire sans parole
Note: Part two and three of this super-long composition brings the original flute theme back; and I recall that I used to pick up the tone arm, and drop the needle back down at the end of the piece (missing the terse, intense middle part of the piece when I wasn't in the mood for it; but it did help me learn to love clashing string chords!!)

Harmonium Vert

Harmonium Dixie (no flute, but a great tune if you have the blues!)

Would love to hear more from those of you who have similar formative-year albums.
More to come on this topic,
Comments (7)
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. As an avid online reader/watcher of your wonderful contributions to the flute world, I feel as if I know you already, which of course is only true in a one-sided virtual sense. But now with this particular post, I'm totally blown away by the connection.

I still have my Harmonium albums on vinyl - I purchased them in the 70s in Montreal as a teen. I enjoyed the earlier album, too, but with “5ieme Saison”, it was one of those things where I heard it once (on anglo-pop radio yet) and had to run, not walk to buy my own copy. Years later I bought the “5ieme Saison” album on CD after finally finding this Quebec group's music in the "international" section here in Ontario! I still have the Harmonium piano book, too. I've made my Toronto-area adult flute friends play the “Histoires Sans Paroles” flute duet bit with me, (they are now fans also) and it’s so great to play with 1 or 2 flutes and guitar, too. I still love, love, love it!

“Vert” and “Dixie” were also favourites of mine, and I picked out the "Dixie" clarinet solo on my leaky Artley 18-0 flute back in the day. You know, by picking up the tone arm and placing on the same approximate spot on the shiny black grooves ...over and over again! “Harmonium” (it's a song title as well as the group name) had a haunting trumpet bit at the end that I'd double on flute, too. Different album.

Another bit of favourite formative fluting at the time was figuring out the flute solo from Genesis's "Firth of Fifth". (G, that's a lot of F's!)

By chance did you also discover and enjoy Chuck Mangione and "Bellavia", "Chase the Clouds Away", "Give It All You've Got But Slowly"? All of that is great stuff. I had the good fortune to see Chuck play live at Ontario Place in the early '80s when the tickets were still free with park admission!

Gee, thanks for the blast from the past!

Monday, January 26, 2009 1:54:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Wow, Lauren, those are all new titles for me!
Whoa nellie. Talk about wild. Just amazing. Best, J. :>)

Monday, January 26, 2009 2:53:00 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Hubert Laws' "The Rite of Spring" album did it for me...especially Stravinsky's title piece and Fauré's "Pavane".

Sunday, February 08, 2009 4:42:00 PM

Blogger Andy Halliday said...

Jen, back in 1979-1980 I was the Ski School Director at Sunshine Village outside of Banff, and the Technical Director was Heather Bilodeau. We both played flute, and in the Friday night show we put on for the guests we performed Histoire sans Paroles with Roy McKenzie accompanying on guitar. Just yesterday I asked Heather what the song was, she replied something by Harmonium, and I found your reference to it here and the recording on YouTube. Took me back right away! Heather has a CD out now with her piano compositions, and Roy Mck is on guitar on some of the tracks, its called Sunday Afternoon, you should check it out.

One thing I experienced while playing that duet with Heather was the sounding of a harmonic tone other than the two notes we were playing, the third tone ringing clearly inside my head but inaudible to anyone outside. Have you had that experience with the piece?

Andy Halliday

Thursday, June 24, 2010 1:46:00 PM

Blogger jen said...

Hi Andy,
Great to hear about this. Can't wait to hear your stuff, and thanks.

The extra sound that's created from two flutes (or two recorders) is called a "difference tone".
It's an acoustic phenomena that you may be able to find out more about by googling.

Shows up all the time!
Thanks again,

Thursday, June 24, 2010 6:02:00 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Can you help me find the part? I want to play it in 2 weeks at my mother's funeral. It was a piece that was played often at home when I was a young teenager and I played along many times then.
I became a professional flute player since and it would mean a lot to find the part and be able to play it for my mother's memorial. Thanks for your HELP!

Thursday, January 29, 2015 11:15:00 AM

Blogger jen said...

Sorry to say I don't know if parts exist. I learned it from the record and just played along with the record.

Thursday, January 29, 2015 5:04:00 PM


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