Today's piece is étude No. 19 from Italian flutist and composer Giuseppe Gariboldi's Twenty Studies, Op. 132.
This morris dance tune comes from the village of Leafield, Oxfordshire, in England's Cotswolds. Leafield was called Fieldtown by the collector Cecil Sharpe, and the group of dances from that village are today known in morris circles as Fieldtown dances. The tune also goes by the name “The Marquis of Harlington”, which in the 18th century was the title of the eldest son of the Duke of Devonshire.
Sebastiano Festa was an Italian composer of the Renaissance period. While his musical output was small, he was one of the earliest composers of madrigals, i.e. secular (as opposed to religious) songs that were arranged for several vocal parts.
One of Festa's madrigals, “O passi sparsi”, based on a sonnet by Petrarch, acquired some fame beyond Festa's limited circle. It was copied in many manuscripts up to mid-century, and appeared in instrumental arrangements as well.
Thanks to Doug for suggesting this piece!
This is the very first movement from a collection of twelve sonatas by Jean-Baptiste Loeillet, first published around 1710.
The Prelude to Johann Sebastian Bach's sixth Suite for unaccompanied cello, written in a steady triple meter, is the only place in the whole set where the composer employed dynamic markings. With just a few forte and piano, he simulates the effect of a Vivaldi-like echo sonata with phrases calling, responding, and gradually growing and developing into a fast-moving and playful cadenza and an untroubled recapitulation.
The famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich called this suite “a symphony for solo cello”, and characterized its D major tonality as evoking joy and triumph.
There is a Balcomie Castle in Scotland, that was begun in the 16th century and has had various owners over the years. Perhaps the most interesting feature of this castle is that it is said to be haunted by the ghost of either a young man who was either starved to death within its walls or a boy who was hanged. The offence was the same in either case: because he would not stop whistling! Presumably it was not this tune that led to his demise, although this could perhaps be verified for it is said one can clearly hear whistling when it is seen.
This is one of the most famous arias from Jacques Offenbach's 1851 opera The Tales of Hoffmann (Les contes d'Hoffmann). It is sung by Olympia, an automaton created by the scientist Spalanzani, but she periodically runs down and needs to be wound up before she can continue.
Thanks to Brittney for suggesting this piece!
Today we propose an arrangement for three flutes of one of the most famous pieces from G.F. Handel's oratorio Messiah. This piece is often heard during the Christmas season and at weddings.
Thanks to Joyce Kai for contributing this arrangement!
Here is étude No. 20 from Giuseppe Gariboldi's Vingt petites études, or Twenty Studies. It's a 6/8-time Andante mosso in A-flat major. With this piece, the whole book is now available for download!
This Jamaican calypso song dates back to at least 1907, when it appeared in Walter Jekyll's book, Jamaican Song and Story. It is now often played at a fast pace for dancing, but was originally sung slow and plaintively by a mother who couldn't sell enough at the market to feed her children.
This is the third and last movement of the famous Concerto in D minor for oboe, strings and basso continuo, usually attributed to Alessandro Marcello or to his brother Benedetto. This concerto is particularly well-known for its central Adagio movement.
Thanks to Deb for suggesting this piece!
Today's piece was originally written for two treble recorders, and has an almost Baroque feel to it, but is actually a contemporary composition. It was contributed to our collection by our Australian friend Leonard Birch, who decided that the flute was far more appropriate. Thank you, Leonard!
This extremely slow Allemande is the second movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's sixth Suite for solo cello. It is widely believed that this suite was composed specifically for a five-stringed violoncello piccolo, a smaller cello, capable of reaching very high notes.
This traditional hornpipe is played widely through the highlands of Scotland. You may have heard it in the famous 1962 film The Longest Day, which recounts the World War II D-Day invasion. The pipers play this tune exclusively throughout the second half of the movie.
Thanks to Ronald for suggesting this tune!
This vigorous, energetic piece was composed by Robert Schumann in 1848, as part of his Album for the Young for solo piano. The piece is in ternary form, with a theme in A minor and a central section in F major.
Thanks to Malia for suggesting this piece!
Here is another duet in E minor from the 55 Easy Pieces by Baroque composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. The title “La Champenoise” refers to the French province of Champagne, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.
Here is a new étude from the first book of Twenty Easy Melodic Progressive Studies by Italian composer Ernesto Köhler. It starts off in D minor, but visits the keys of G minor, A major, E major and C-sharp minor before returning to the principal key.
This traditional Irish slow air is named after a town in County Kerry, south-western Ireland. The tune also goes by the titles “Kerry For Me”, “The Old Shady Bohereen”, and, in a minor-key variant, “The Cumberland's Crew”.
This “rag” for piano was composed in 1908. It is one of Scott Joplin's most relaxed, gracious and charming compositions.
Thanks to Monique for suggesting this piece!
Today's piece is the central air from Johann Sebastian Bach's second French Suite for harpsichord, composed around 1722. Originally in C minor, this movement has been transposed to F minor to better fit the range of the flute.
Many thanks to Joyce Kai for contributing this arrangement!
Here is another relatively easy étude, in F major this time, from the first book of Twenty Easy Melodic Progressive Studies by flutist and composer Ernesto Köhler.
This old Irish slow air was published in the 1909 collection Old Irish Folk Music and Songs by Patrick Weston Joyce, who transcribed it “from the singing of his aunt, Mrs. Mary MacSweeny of Cork, and of Glenosheen Co. Limerick”.
This easy polka was originally composed for solo piano by Louis Köhler, a German composer, conductor and piano teacher of the Romantic era (19th century). Despite his name, he was not related to flutist Ernesto Köhler.
Thanks to Malia for suggesting this piece!
This is duet No. 3 from the first volume of Twenty Easy Melodic Progressive Studies by Italian Romantic composer Ernesto Köhler. It is marked con tristezza, which means “with sadness”, and a sense of sadness is indeed conveyed by the use of a minor key.
This lively Courante constitutes the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's sixth Suite for unaccompanied cello. It is one of the very few movements in the whole set that include no chords.
Although the Swedish constitution makes no mention of a national anthem, “Du gamla, Du fria” (“Thou ancient, Thou free”) is universally recognized as the de facto national anthem of Sweden and is used, for example, at sporting events. It first began to win recognition as a patriotic song in the 1890s, and the issue of its status was debated back and forth up until the 1930s. In 1938, the Swedish radio company Sveriges Radio started playing it at the end of transmitting in the evenings, which marked the beginning of the de facto status as national anthem the song has had since.
The melody is a traditional tune from Västmanland, a historical province in middle Sweden, and was later arranged by Swedish composer Edvin Kallstenius.
Thanks to Finn for suggesting this tune!
This is the second of three pieces for flute (or oboe) and piano written in 1893 by American Romantic composer Arthur Foote.
Thanks to Michael for suggesting this piece!
This is the sixth duet in E minor from the 55 Easy Pieces by Baroque composer Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. The French title “Le Petit Maître” might be translated as “The Little Master”.
This is étude No. 12 from Ernesto Köhler's 25 Romantic Studies, Op. 66. It is not particularly difficult, but it is important to play this piece with a vigorous rhythm so that it resembles a polonaise, which is a rather slow dance. Each time you meet two eighth notes on the first beat, play the first one very short and stress the second one.
One tale attached to this traditional dance tune has it that “King of the Fairies” is a summoning tune, and if played three times in a row during a festivity the King must appear. Once summoned, however, the King assesses the situation, and if the gathering is to his liking he may join in; if however, he does not find it to his liking he may cause great mischief. “King of the Fairies” appears to be derived from a Jacobite tune called “Bonny Charlie”, appearing in many 18th-century Scottish and English publications.
Thanks to Jess for suggesting this tune!