Friday 1 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Da Full Rigged Ship

 Traditional Scottish jig

This old traditional Shetland listening tune was once popularized by fiddler Tom Anderson (1910–1991), who explained the little hesitations and sudden melodic turns as “the motion when a fine sailing ship mounts the ocean swell, pauses and dips its bow again”. This jig is traditionally played slowly (down to 60 BPM), with lots of feeling, and is often followed without a break by the fast reel “Da New Rigged Ship”.

Categories: Celtic Music Jigs Traditional/FolkDifficulty: easy
Saturday 2 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Allegro by Telemann

 from “Sonates sans Basse à deux Flutes traverses”

Here is the fourth and last movement of Georg Philipp Telemann's first Sonata without Bass for Two Transverse Flutes, or Two Violins, or Two Recorders. This piece is a 12/8-time binary-form Allegro in G major, featuring some wide interval leaps.

Categories: Baroque Sonatas Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 3 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Courante by J.S. Bach

 from Partita in D minor for solo violin, arranged for solo flute

Since you liked the Allemande, here is the second movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004. This movement, sometimes titled using the Italian spelling “Corrente”, is a rather lively piece in 3/4 time.

Categories: Baroque CourantesDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 4 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Hungarian March

 from “The Damnation of Faust” by Hector Berlioz

French composer Hector Berlioz called his opera La damnation de Faust a “légende dramatique” (dramatic legend). This work was inspired by a translation of Goethe's dramatic poem Faust and, like the masterpiece it's based on, it defies easy categorization. It was first performed in Paris in 1846.

The celebrated Marche hongroise, or Hungarian March, concludes the first of the four parts of the opera. Berlioz relates in his Memoirs the circumstances of the composition, based on a Hungarian national theme (Rákóczy-indulo). The electrifying effect of the first performance in Budapest incited Berlioz to include it in La damnation de Faust, which he was composing at the time.

Thanks to Holly for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Marches RomanticDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 5 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Flow Gently, Sweet Afton

 Music by Jonathan E. Spilman

This song is based on the lyrical poem Sweet Afton by Robert Burns, describing the Afton Water in Ayrshire, Scotland. It was set to music by Kentucky lawyer, minister, and composer Jonathan E. Spilman in 1837. An adaptation of the same melody has since become one of the tunes to the Christmas carol “Away in a Manger”. This melody is sometimes erroneously attributed to Alexander Hume, who did compose a different, less known tune to Burns's poem.

Categories: Ballads Hymn tunesDifficulty: easy
Wednesday 6 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden

 from Mozart's “The Magic Flute”, arranged for two flutes

This aria is sung by Monostatos, Sarastro's moorish slave, in Act II of Mozart's famous opera Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute). Monostatos approaches Pamina while she is sleeping in the garden, and wishes that they could be together, but knows that he could never have her.

All feel the joy of love,
Bill and coo, flirt, snuggle, and kiss,
And I am supposed to avoid love,
Because I am ugly.
Have I, then, been given no heart?
I am also fond of girls,
Always to live without a woman
Would truly be the blaze of hell!

Categories: Arias Classical Love songs Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Thursday 7 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Sarabande by J.S. Bach

 from Partita in D minor for solo violin, arranged for solo flute

This is the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004. Let us remember that the sarabande was originally a stately dance of Spanish origin, generally featuring accents on the second and third beats of each measure. In Bach's time, however, it was just a traditional movement of the Baroque suite, and was played much slower than the original dance. Moreover, as you can see, the late Baroque sarabande contains more written-out ornaments.

Categories: Baroque SarabandesDifficulty: intermediate
Friday 8 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Overture to Orphée aux Enfers

 by Carl Binder

Jacques Offenbach's famous opera Orphée aux enfers (Orpheus in the Underworld) was first performed in Paris in 1858. It was not until the Vienna production of 1860, however, that Austrian operetta composer Carl Binder provided an overture to it. This overture, beginning with a bristling fanfare followed by a clarinet solo and by a tender love song played by the oboe, has become the standard, and famous, overture to Offenbach's work.

Thanks to Howard for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Opera excerpts RomanticDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 9 July 2011

Tune of the Day: My Love She's But a Lassie Yet

 Traditional Scottish reel

The title “My Love She's But a Lassie Yet” was fixed on this tune because of the song Robert Burns composed to it, although the tune itself seems to have first appeared in print in Bremner's Scots Reels of 1757 as “Miss Farqharson's Reel”. Despite its Scottish origins, it soon became a popular tune in England, and was also imported to Ireland, where it was converted to a polka and played under the titles “My Love is But a Lassie” and “Tripping on the Mountain”. Under this last title it was famously recorded by flute player John McKenna and fiddler James Morrison.

Categories: Celtic Music Reels Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 10 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Rondeau by Purcell

 from “Abdelazer”

Abdelazer, or The Moor's Revenge, is a 1676 play by Mrs. Aphra Behn. The famous English composer Henry Purcell provided incidental music for a 1695 revival, shortly before his death from tuberculosis at the age of 36.

It is the Rondeau we present today that has ensured enduring fame for an otherwise forgotten play and its largely neglected music. This movement was used by Benjamin Britten as the theme for his famous 1946 set of symphonic variations known as The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra.

Thanks to Jeffrey for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Baroque Hornpipes RondosDifficulty: easy
Monday 11 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Giga by J.S. Bach

 from Partita in D minor for solo violin, arranged for solo flute

Here is the fourth of the five movements of Johann Sebastian Bach's Partita in D minor for solo violin, BWV 1004. This is a fast-paced giga (or gigue, using the French spelling, although that's not exactly the same thing) in 12/8 time.

Categories: Baroque JigsDifficulty: advanced
Tuesday 12 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Come, ye Sons of Art

 by Henry Purcell, arranged for two flutes

Come ye Sons of Art is one of Henry Purcell's most elaborate, most important and most magnificent works. It was written in 1694 as a birthday ode for Queen Mary II of England, using a text by Irish poet Nahum Tate.

Come, ye Sons of Art, come away,
Tune all your voices and instruments play
To celebrate this triumphant day.

Thanks to Erika for suggesting this piece!

Categories: BaroqueDifficulty: easy
Wednesday 13 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Hard Times Come Again No More

 by Stephen Foster, for flute and piano

Often simply called “Hard Times”, this American folk song was written by Stephen C. Foster in 1854. It was well-known and popular in its day, both in America and Europe, and was a favorite of both sides during the American Civil War. The lyrics portray sympathy for those who are impoverished:

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary;
Hard Times, Hard Times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh! Hard Times come again no more.

Categories: American Civil War Traditional/FolkDifficulty: easy
Thursday 14 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Gigue in D major

 by Johann Pachelbel, arranged for two flutes

Everybody knows Pachelbel's Canon, but the Gigue that originally accompanied it never received the same amount of popularity, even though it is a lively and energetic dance. Just like the Canon, Pachelbel composed it near the end of the 17th century, but it remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century.

Thanks to Jeffrey for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Baroque JigsDifficulty: intermediate
Friday 15 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Study No. 5 by Köhler

 from “Progress in Flute Playing”

Here is another étude from the first book of Ernesto Köhler's Progress in Flute Playing. It is a very melodious cut-time Allegretto in G major.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 16 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Deh vieni, non tardar

 from Mozart's “The Marriage of Figaro”, arranged for two flutes

This famous aria is taken from Act IV of Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro. Susanna sings this love song (“Oh come, don't delay”) to her beloved while Figaro is hiding behind a bush; but he thinks the song is for the Count of Almaviva, and becomes increasingly jealous.

Categories: Arias Classical Love songs Opera excerptsDifficulty: easy
Sunday 17 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Flowers of the Forest

 Traditional Scottish folk tune

This ancient Scottish tune was first recorded in the John Skene of Halyards Manuscript (circa 1620) as “Flowres of the Forrest”, but it was probably composed earlier.

Several sets of lyrics have since been added to the tune, notably Jean Elliot's version in 1756. However, most renditions are played on the Great Highland Bagpipe. Due to the content of the lyrics (the lament makes reference to the Battle of Flodden Field of 1513, when the Scots army of James IV was soundly defeated by the English) and the reverence for the tune, many pipers will only perform it at funerals or memorial services, and only practice it in private. For instance, it was played by massed pipers at the funeral of Winston Churchill in 1965.

It is now standard practice in the British military to use this tune to mark the death of a soldier in Afghanistan during the official memorial service.

Thanks to Ailsa for suggesting this tune!

Categories: Celtic Music Funeral music Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 18 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Vivace by Loeillet

 from Sonata in C major

This is the second movement of a Recorder Sonata in C major by Belgian Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Loeillet, who is often called Loeillet de Gant (or Loeillet of Ghent) to avoid confusion with his cousin, Jean-Baptiste Loeillet of London, who also was a well-known musician and composer.

Thanks to Brian for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Baroque SonatasDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 19 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Prelude by J.S. Bach

 from Cello Suite No. 2

Here is the first movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 2 in D minor for Unaccompanied Cello, BWV 1008. This Prelude consists of two parts, the first of which has a strong recurring theme that is immediately introduced in the beginning. The second part, on the other hand, is more scale-based, and leads to a sequence of five powerful chords.

Categories: BaroqueDifficulty: intermediate
Wednesday 20 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Allegretto by Köhler

 from Forty Progressive Duets for Two Flutes

Here is a nice duet from Volume I of Ernesto Köhler's Forty Progressive Duets. The upper voice is very simple to play, while the lower one features many large intervals in the first half of the piece.

Categories: Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Thursday 21 July 2011

Tune of the Day: He'd Have to Get Under – Get Out and Get Under

 (to Fix Up His Automobile)

This song, composed in 1913 by Maurice Abrahams to lyrics by Grant Clarke and Edgar Leslie, has one of the lengthier titles in the history of popular songs. The title was essentially self-defining: the song poked fun at the trials and tribulations of the average young car owner of the 1910s. It was a hit for recording artists such as Al Jolson, Billy Murray and Bobby North, and in 2003 it was revived by Bobby Horton in the Ken Burns documentary film Horatio's Drive.

Categories: 20th centuryDifficulty: easy
Friday 22 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in C major by Gariboldi

 from “20 Petites Etudes”

This is the first study from Italian flutist and composer Giuseppe Gariboldi's Twenty Studies, Op. 132. The piece is based on an extremely simple theme repeated at different heights, and on the alternation of staccato and legato articulation.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Saturday 23 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Andante by Vivaldi

 from Concerto for Two Mandolins in G major, arranged for two flutes

The exact date of composition for the famous Concerto for two Mandolins in G major is unknown, but it is assumed that Vivaldi wrote it for the students at the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children where Vivaldi worked from 1703 to 1740.

The middle Andante is arguably the most famous movement of the Concerto. It is in E minor, with the two mandolins performing throughout over just violins and violas played pizzicato and in unison. The graceful melody is built mostly of overlapping, echoing phrases, with the two soloists coming together only to intensify the emotion at certain points.

Categories: Baroque ConcertosDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 24 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Un moto di gioia mi sento

 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, arranged for Flute and Piano

In 1789, a revival of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro was presented in Vienna with soprano Adriana Ferrarese del Bene appearing in the role of Susanna. The composer wrote the aria “Un moto di gioia mi sento” (“An emotion of joy I feel”) for that production as a replacement for the Act II aria “Venite inginocchiatevi”, not because he was dissatisfied with it, but because “Un moto di gioia” was better suited to the voice of del Bene. In the opera, Susanna sings it while she dresses Cherubino in women's clothing as a ruse to deceive the Count.

While productions of The Marriage of Figaro after 1789 have generally used the original “Venite inginocchiatevi”, its replacement aria has hardly faded away. “Un moto di gioia” is still often heard in concert performances and on recordings.

Categories: Arias Classical Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 25 July 2011

Tune of the Day: MacPherson's Lament

 Traditional Scottish tune

Though there is no proof, this melody is popularly thought to have been composed by one of Scotland's first so called fiddle composers, the legendary James Macpherson, on the eve of his execution in November 1700. Sir Walter Scott says that MacPherson played the tune under the gallows, and, after playing it, he then offered his fiddle to anyone in his clan who would play it at his wake. When no one came forward to take the fiddle, he broke it — either across his knee or over the executioner's head — and then threw it into the crowd with the remark, “No one else shall play Jamie MacPherson's fiddle”.

Categories: Ballads Celtic Music Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 26 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Norwegian Dance No. 2

 by Edvard Grieg, arranged for flute and piano

Grieg's four Norwegian Dances are now probably best known as orchestrated by Czech conductor Hans Sitt, but they began as music for piano four-hands. As is the case of its three companions, the second dance is drawn from Ludvig Mathias Lindeman's Mountain Melodies, Old and New. It's a halling, or reel; a playful melody, which Grieg sets in A major, repeating it with a different accompaniment. Then the piece lurches into F-sharp minor for a stormy middle section of Grieg's own invention, based on the last four bars of the main melody. After this brief interruption, the dance concludes with a repeat of the first section.

Thanks to Sigrid from Norway for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Dance tunes RomanticDifficulty: intermediate
Wednesday 27 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön

 from Mozart's “The Magic Flute”, arranged for two flutes

“Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön” (“This image is enchantingly lovely”) is an aria from the beginning of Act I of Mozart's famous opera Die Zauberflöte, or The Magic Flute. Prince Tamino has just been presented by the Three Ladies with an image of the princess Pamina, and instantly falls in love with her.

Categories: Arias Classical Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Thursday 28 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Allemande by J.S. Bach

 from Cello Suite No. 2, arranged for solo flute

Here is the second movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. The allemande was originally a 16th-century duple-meter dance of moderate tempo, derived from dances supposed to be favored in Germany at the time (allemand is the French word for ‛German’). The Baroque composers of the 17th century experimented with the allemande, shifting to quadruple meter and ranging more widely in tempo.

Categories: Allemandes BaroqueDifficulty: intermediate
Friday 29 July 2011

Tune of the Day: The Earl of Mansfield

 Traditional Scottish pipe march

This traditional Scottish march is usually attributed to piper John McEwan of the 92nd Gordon Highlanders. The tune made its first appearance in print in book 12 of David Glen's A Collection of Ancient Piobaireachd, published between 1876 and 1900.

Categories: Celtic Music Dance tunes Marches Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 30 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Moderato by Köhler

 from Forty Progressive Duets for Two Flutes

Today's tune is an easy duet in G major, No. 9 from Volume I of Ernesto Köhler's Forty Progressive Duets.

Categories: Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Sunday 31 July 2011

Tune of the Day: Grave by Handel

 from Flute Sonata in E minor

Although a part of what is now known as Handel's “Halle Sonata No. 2”, the attribution of this third movement to Handel is very doubtful, and many scholars suspect it to be the work of some other composer of Handel's time. The date of composition of the work is unknown, but it was first published in 1730.

Categories: Baroque SonatasDifficulty: intermediate