Monday 1 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Trumpet Voluntary in D major

 by John Stanley, arranged for two flutes

Generally speaking, a “trumpet voluntary” is a kind of English keyboard piece from the Baroque era, most commonly played on the organ using the trumpet stop, hence the name.

John Stanley, an English composer and organist of the late Baroque (18th century), published at least thirty pieces under the name “Voluntary” for Organ. Most of these feature a short, slow introduction followed by either a solo-stop movement (such as the so called “Trumpet Voluntary” we present today, which is by far the most famous) or a fugue.

Thanks to Craig for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Baroque Fanfares Wedding musicDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 2 August 2011

Tune of the Day: King George V's Army

 Scottish march by Pipe Major George S. McLennan

This pipe march was composed by Pipe Major George S. McLennan of the 1st Gordon Highlanders; the title refers to the British army of World War I, of which McLennan was a member.

There is some confusion of titles between “King George V's Army” and “Kitchener's Army”, two distinct tunes albeit both composed by McLennan.

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Pourquoi me réveiller

 from Massenet's opera “Werther”, arranged for flute and piano

French composer Jules Massenet wrote his opera Werther in 1887, based on the German epistolary novel The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Werther's aria “Pourquoi me réveiller, ô souffle du printemps?” (“Why awaken me, o breath of spring?”) from Act III has become one of the favorite pieces from the opera, and has been sung in concert by many famous tenors such as Luciano Pavarotti.

Thanks to Jennifer for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Arias Opera excerpts RomanticDifficulty: intermediate
Thursday 4 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in F major by Gariboldi

 from “20 Petites Etudes”

Here is another relatively easy study from Giuseppe Gariboldi's Twenty Studies, Op. 132. Try to pay careful attention to phrasing and dynamics.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Friday 5 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Cinque, dieci

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

Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro has one of the most remarkable starts in opera history. At the very beginning of Act I, Figaro is happily measuring the space where his wedding bed will fit, counting out loud: “Five, ten, twenty, thirty, thirty-six... forty-three!”, Susanna, the bride-to-be, enters the room asking him to look at a hat which she has made for herself, and they engage in this wonderful duettino (‛small duet’).

Categories: Classical Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 6 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Dovecote Park

 Scottish pipe march and jig

This popular Scottish march was composed by Pipe Major James Braidwood, and appears in many collections for Highland bagpipes. Braidwood lived in Edinburgh, and was a friend of Pipe Major William Ross. When Willie was, rather suddenly, appointed to the Army Class in 1919, he didn't have accommodation in the city, and Jimmy Braidwood put him up at his house, which was called Dovecote Park. He also composed a tune in his honor, which he titled “Pipe Major William Ross's Welcome to Dovecote Park”. Ross enjoyed the tune and included it in his collection, but modestly deleted references to himself in the title, publishing it only as “Dovecote Park”.

The tune is sometimes called “MacDonald of Sleat” after a dance of that name which uses the tune.

Categories: Celtic Music Jigs Marches Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 7 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Ideale

 by F. Paolo Tosti, arranged for flute and piano

Although they were on every singer's lips during the first years of the twentieth century, most of Italian-British composer Francesco Paolo Tosti's songs have since fallen by the wayside. Only a handful of greatest hits, like “Ideale”, have had much sustained popularity. In the original version of this song, the singer describes in romantic terms how he followed an ideal, whether a woman or something more abstract, and begs the ideal to return, “and in your image, a new dawn will shine upon me”.

Categories: RomanticDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 8 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Pastoral Symphony

 from Handel's “Messiah”, arranged for two flutes

The famous “Pastoral Symphony” that serves as an instrumental interlude before the Christmas section in Handel's oratorio Messiah was originally entitled “Pifa”. The composer alludes to the music of the pifferari, the country bagpipers who descended the Italian mountains during the Christmas season to play in village streets.

James Galway included a solo version of this piece in his album Pachelbel Canon and Other Baroque Favorites.

Categories: Baroque Christmas carolsDifficulty: easy
Tuesday 9 August 2011

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

 from Cello Suite No. 2, arranged for solo flute

This is the third movement of Johann Sebastian Bach's Cello Suite No. 2 in D minor. It is a light and fast-paced courante (sometimes spelled corrente) in 3/4 time.

Categories: Baroque CourantesDifficulty: advanced
Wednesday 10 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Nanatsu no Ko

 aka “Seven Children”, arranged for flute and piano

This popular Japanese children's song was composed by Nagayo Motoori to a poem by Ujō Noguchi, and published in Kin no fune (“The golden ship”) magazine on July 1921. The title can be translated as either “seven children” or “seven-year-old child”, and was never clarified by the poet. The song refers to a mountain and a crow crying kawai, the Japanese word for cute. Ujō Noguchi often told the story behind the poem: A crow flies in the direction of a mountain, and two boys stand below watching. One boy says to the other, why does the bird fly and cry at the same time? His friend says, because her babies are waiting on the other side, and she is calling kawai, kawai to them since they are her cute children.

In the manga and anime Detective Conan, the phone number of the boss of the Black Organization is #969#6261, which reproduces the beginning of this tune.

Thanks to Claire for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Nursery rhymesDifficulty: easy
Thursday 11 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in B-flat major by Köhler

 from “Progress in Flute Playing”

This is étude No. 8 from the first book of Ernesto Köhler's Progress in Flute Playing. It is in ABA form, and features a stormy central section marked “più vivo”, which is Italian for “more lively”.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Friday 12 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Après un rêve

 by Gabriel Faure, arranged for flute and piano

Trois mélodies is a set of three pieces for solo voice and piano, written by Gabriel Fauré between 1870 and 1878. The first of these songs, titled “Après un rêve” (“After a Dream”), is undoubtedly one of the composer's best-known works for voice. The French text, derived from an anonymous Italian poem, describes a dream in which the narrator and her beloved come together in an almost otherworldly meeting, followed by a longing to return to this dream state after awakening (“Return, O mysterious night!”).

In 2018 the piece was notably played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, as the newly married couple retired to sign the register books.

Categories: Lieder Romantic Wedding musicDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 13 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Vivace by Telemann

 from Canonic Sonata for Two Flutes No. 6

This is the first movement from Georg Philipp Telemann's sixth Canonic Sonata for two flutes. As with all of these sonatas, the two players play the exact same melody, but (in this case) two measures apart. Most of the trills can be played with a turned ending.

Categories: Baroque Canons SonatasDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 14 August 2011

Tune of the Day: The Foxhunter's Reel

 Traditional Irish tune

This five-part reel is quite popular at modern Irish sessions. Fiddlers often play it in the key of A Major, but on the flute G major is usually the key of choice.

Categories: Reels Traditional/FolkDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 15 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Les Fifres

 by Jean-François Dandrieu, arranged for flute and bass instrument

This piece is taken from the first book of Pièces de Clavecin (“Harpsichord Pieces”) by French Baroque composer, harpsichordist and organist Jean-François Dandrieu. It is made up of three parts in rondeau form, so its structure can be written as AABACA. Fifre is the French word for ‛fife’, but the piece has also appeared in print with the English title “The Fifers”.

Thanks to Brandon for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Baroque RondosDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 16 August 2011

Tune of the Day: In diesen heil'gen Hallen

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

This bass aria is taken from Act II of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. After Pamina pleads with Sarastro to have mercy on her scheming mother (the Queen of the Night, who has just sung the famous aria “Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen”, or “Hell's vengeance boileth in mine heart”), Sarastro forgives her and sings of the ideals of his Brotherhood:

Within these hallowed halls
One knows not revenge.
And should a person have fallen,
Love will guide him to duty.
Then wanders he on the hand of a friend
Cheerful and happy into a better land.

Categories: Arias Classical Opera excerptsDifficulty: easy
Wednesday 17 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in G major by Gariboldi

 from “20 Petites Etudes”

This third étude from Giuseppe Gariboldi's Twenty Studies starts off with a joyous 6/8-time theme marked “con grazia”, which is Italian for “with grace”. Within the piece you will find a very lyrical passage in E minor, and even three “hidden” 3/4-time measures in which quavers are to be thought in three groups of two instead of two groups of three. The theme is then repeated, but at the end the composer decided to speed things up, and inserted a run of sixteenth notes!

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Thursday 18 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Green Bushes

 Traditional English song

This Mixolydian-mode song is a very English-sounding one. It dates from the 1760s, though it remained popular until the early years of the 20th century.

The melody is featured in the second movement of Ralph Vaughan Williams's English Folk Song Suite, in Percy Grainger's Green Bushes (Passacaglia on an English Folksong), and in George Butterworth's The Banks of Green Willow. It is also very similar to the melody of the “Lost Lady Found” movement of Percy Grainger's Lincolnshire Posy, and to “The Cutty Wren”.

Categories: Traditional/FolkDifficulty: easy
Friday 19 August 2011

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

 from Cello Suite No. 2, arranged for solo flute

The extremely slow sarabande from Johann Sebastian Bach's Suite No. 2 for Unaccompanied Cello may sound a bit sad, but it's a really beautiful piece of Baroque music. The world-famous cellist Mstislav Rostropovich memorably described this movement as “an essay in white-hot solitude”.

Categories: Baroque SarabandesDifficulty: intermediate
Saturday 20 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Allegro con espressione by Kuhlau

 from Three Duets for two flutes, Op. 10, No. 1

Friedrich Kuhlau, a German-Danish pianist and composer of the late Classic and Romantic eras, wrote several compositions for flute. The piece we propose today, a fast G-major Allegro in triple time, is the first movement of one of the many flute duets he composed.

Thanks to Kate and George for suggesting this work!

Categories: Classical Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 21 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Octaves

 from Köhler's “25 Romantic Studies”

This study in octaves is taken from Ernesto Köhler's 25 Romantic Studies, Op. 66. It may look a bit complex at first, but it's an excellent piece to develop a better embouchure. You can start out by playing only the first note in each slurred group, so that you can better focus on the melody and phrase it musically. Then add in the octaves, always marking the first of the slurred notes (that's the meaning of the direction at the beginning of the piece, “marcando sempre la prima delle note legate”). Try not to vary your embouchure too much when changing octaves, or you won't be able to speed things up later on.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Monday 22 August 2011

Tune of the Day: When Irish Eyes Are Smiling

 Music by Ernest R. Ball, arranged for flute and piano

This lighthearted song in tribute to Ireland was composed by Ernest Ball, with lyrics by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr., for Olcott's production of The Isle O' Dreams. It was first published in 1912, at a time when songs in tribute to a romanticized Ireland were very numerous and popular both in Britain and the United States. The song continued to be a familiar standard for generations, and has been recorded on over 200 singles and albums and by many famous singers, including Bing Crosby and the famous tenor John McCormack.

Categories: 20th century WaltzesDifficulty: easy
Tuesday 23 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Neapolitan Melody

 by Jules Demersseman, for flute and piano

Being both a flutist and a composer, Jules Demersseman wrote numerous works for his own instrument. Probably the best known of his works today is the Solo de Concert, Op. 82 No. 6. This piece, also known as the “Italian Concerto”, uses a Neapolitan folk melody in the middle movement. The original setting of the tune is in the key of D-flat major (with 5 flats in the key signature), but to make it easier we have transposed it to D major.

Categories: Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate
Wednesday 24 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Voi, che sapete

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

“Voi, che sapete che cosa è amor” (“You ladies who know what love is, is it what I'm suffering from?”) is one of the most popular arias from Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro. It is performed by Cherubino, Count Almaviva's young page, who is about to be sent off to the army because the Count finds him a nuisance. When Cherubino appears before the Countess and her maid Susanna in Act II to tell them his fate, this aria is sung at the request of Susanna for a love song.

Categories: Arias Classical Love songs Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Thursday 25 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in E minor by Gariboldi

 from “20 Petites Etudes”

Here is another étude from Giuseppe Gariboldi's Twenty Studies, this time in E minor. It is marked “mezza voce eguale e delicato”, which can be translated literally as “half voice (i.e. quiet), even and delicate”.

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Friday 26 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Early One Morning

 Traditional English folk song

This 16th century ballad is one of the best-known traditional folksongs in Britain, but little is known of its origins. The lyrics are first found in publications as far back as 1787, but it was only with William Chappell's publication in his National English Airs of circa 1855 that the well-known melody was first printed. In his later Popular Music of the Olden Time Chappell mentioned “Early One Morning” as “one of the three most popular songs among the servant-maids of the present generation”. Some scholars believe the melody may be derived from an earlier song, titled “The Forsaken Lover”.

The folk song has been used in a number of well-known arrangements, for example by the English composer Benjamin Britten and the Australian composer Percy Aldridge Grainger. Until 2006, it formed the opening bars of the "Radio 4 UK Theme" by Fritz Spiegl, which was played every morning on BBC Radio 4. The tune has also appeared in a number of television programmes, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and films, such as Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the 1960 Disney film Pollyanna.

Categories: Ballads Traditional/FolkDifficulty: easy
Saturday 27 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Pa, pa, pa

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

This famous duet is sung in the finale of Act II of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, when the birdcatcher Papageno uses his magic bells to summon Papagena. Papageno is so thrilled to find his beloved Papagena that at first they can only stutter blissed-out “Pa … pa … pa …” noises at each other!

Categories: Classical Opera excerptsDifficulty: intermediate
Sunday 28 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Study in D major by Köhler

 from “20 Easy and Melodic Studies”

This étude is taken from the first book of Ernesto Köhler's Twenty Easy Melodic Progressive Studies, Op. 93.

Thanks to Bruno for contributing this piece!

Categories: Etudes Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: easy
Monday 29 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Waltz in A minor

 by Frédéric Chopin, arranged for solo flute

Frédéric Chopin composed this waltz (or valse) for solo piano sometime between 1843 and 1848, but the piece was not published until 1955, over 100 years later.

The mood of the piece is unclear, hinting at both sadness and joy. The first theme uses a simple but effective melody, conveying a sad portrait, with decorative ornaments used throughout. The second theme is more interesting and lively, although it still shows a certain sadness. It's only with a modulation into A major that a happy and joyful melody finally appears. The piece concludes with the main theme, followed by a short coda.

Thanks to Luca for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Romantic WaltzesDifficulty: intermediate
Tuesday 30 August 2011

Tune of the Day: The Swallowtail Jig

 Traditional Irish jig

This is a very popular traditional tune in Ireland, Britain and North America, especially with beginners, although it is often considered too hackneyed for session play. The title “Swallowtail Jig”, in conjunction with the alternate title “The Dancing Master”, may possibly refer to the type of coat typically worn the by early 19th-century dancing master.

This jig is often played in a set with the famous “The Irish Washerwoman”.

Categories: Jigs Traditional/FolkDifficulty: easy
Wednesday 31 August 2011

Tune of the Day: Scherzino by Andersen

 for Flute and Piano

Danish flutist Joachim Andersen was both a virtuoso and a composer of flute music. The piece we present today is taken from his Opus 55, titled Acht Vortragsstücke or Eight Performer Pieces. It is a lively 3/4-time scherzo in D major, with a relaxed central section in G major marked “liberamente”, i.e. ‛freely’. thus contrasting with the “lesto” (‛quick’) found at the beginning.

Thanks to Brandon for suggesting this piece!

Categories: Romantic Written for FluteDifficulty: intermediate