The Flute Network Recommends..... - Three CD's, Two Books, and a very special Online Resource

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All of these were slated to have appeared in our March 2009 issue - we're delighted to get to still share them with you online!

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1. Back of Beyond, Music Inspired by the Appalachian Mountains, featuring Lea Kibler, Flute with Steven Walter, guitar, Irina Viritch, piano, and Valerie Von Pechy Whitcup, harp. Produced and released by Kibler. Sample or order on-line at http://CDBaby.com/leakibler/CD or directly from Lea Kibler at Clemson University. E-mail: Ashevilleflute.com. Price: $15. (10% of sales go to Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy.)

Drawing on the great repository of folk melodies and ancient tunes preserved in the deep valleys of the Eastern mountains of the U.S., Lea Kibler and company have put together a just superb survey of some of the best efforts of classical composers to adapt and use this material to make the apparently simple both clear and richly complex. Featured here are Robert Beaser’s brilliant reworking of four traditional Mountain Songs; three of Ernest Bacon’s short folk-music based works for flute/violin and piano; John Corigliano’s Voyage; Sidney Lanier’s solo Wind Song; an adaptation of Carlisle Floyd’s aria “Ain’t it Pretty” from his popular Americana opera Susannah; a traditional melody My Lagan Love; an improvisation on A Cherokee “Wonderous Love”; and three of John Jacob Niles Ballads. Throughout this program of recordings, Kibler’s warm tone and lyrical phrasing bring out the poignancy and tunefulness found in the rich heritage of American folk song. She is very lyrical performer in any genre, and these works bring out her special brand of intensity, ability to communication her emotions, and clean technique. (J.E.P.)

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2. The Flute Ark; Just About Everything About the Flute, an on-line encyclopedia of the Flute by Trevor Wye (General Editor), Sarah Bull (Biographical Editor), with contributors and compliers Martin Hoffman, Robert Scott and friends. See: http://www.fluteark.com/

This compendium of information about the flute, its literature, its players, its manufacturers is a long-time labor of love was initiated by the indefatigable Trevor Wye in around 1985 “just for the pleasure of collecting flute information” and sharing it with other. His original intention was to produce a printed hardcopy version, but because it is an incomplete, on-going work that will be updated regularly, Wye and his team have decided to make it available now and add more information as needed with potential daily updates. So, to suggest alterations and amendments or errata to biographical data, please e-mail Sarah Bull: sarah@hoffmanweb.info. For additions, flute facts, and suggestions, please e-mail Trevor Wye: tw@trevorwye.com. He notes that the current version is “strong on Repertoire, but weak on the number and depth of biographies, and a decision was made for now to limit the number of composers born after 1950. (Johnathan Myall Music, the British flute and woodwinds specialty store, has kindly agreed to host the website. Bravo, Johnathan!)

This compendium can be searched or you can use the extensive alphabetical listing of topics from A to Z. For advanced searches for words in an article, names of composers and compositions, orchestrations and instrumentation of works, you will have to register and log in, but the basic resources are there on the homepage and easily accessible. (For example, a search for “Wye” brings up a much too brief and modest overview of the life and works of the editor (J.E.P.)

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3. Music for Flutes and Guitars by Robert Fruehwald. A CD recording performed by Leslie Marrs, flute, and Robert Trent, guitar. Privately produced and available from musicfrommarrs.blogspot.com or at various sources such as Borders locations or Digstation.com. Price: $11.99 plus S& H. Hear samples at: http://www.digstation.com/albumdetails.aspx?albumID=ALB000021536

Leslie Marrs, professor of flute at Drake University and guitarist Trent have done the flute community a real service by releasing this fine CD of fresh, interesting and musically challenging compositions by Fruehwald, a distinguished professor of music (and himself a flute player) at Southeast Missouri State University. His works are among the most original, and yet accessible, modern works I have heard in the past few years. He takes a broad palette of colors and musical devices that could seem merely experimental effect and manages to make them a complete whole that communicates and spins out expressive texture and melodic flow of ideas.

Flutist Marrs plays the flute, piccolo and alto flute with a sureness and ease belies the difficulties inherent in these pieces—and she brings them off with a great deal of flair and excitement. Her handling of high, delicate harmonics is extremely smooth and deft as are her treatment of key clicks, double stops, and tonebending glissandos that sound like a “fretless flute.” All of the works on the CD Fruehswald’s Hymntunes VI; Hymntunes IV; Noels: Three Preludes for Christmas: Three Fantasies on Irish Folk Songs; and Duo on Bulgarian Folk Song are works that need to be more widely heard and distributed. (You can find out more about Fruehwald and his compositions at: http://www6.semo.edu/fruehwald/fruehwaldhome.htm (J.E.P.)

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4. Flute Farce; Cartoons and Limericks by Howard Vance. Published by TootPick Publishing, 978 Reddoch Cover, Memphis, TN 38119. Order on-line at: http://www.HowardVance.com or by phone at 901-767-6940. Price: $10; plus $5 shipping and handling.

Howard Vance is a guitarist/composer who intimately knows the foibles of flutists and how to bring us back from self-absorption by pointing out the lighter side of our musical life. His latest effort includes 88 five-line poems, 48 hilarious (and outrageous) cartoons about the flute and flute players. For example, The Frustrated Flutist:

A frustrated flutist from France
Practiced daily but did not advance.
All she did was play scales;
Paint and pamper her nails.
Besides flute she blew her chance!

Or, his humorous depiction of a flute/teacher looking at a blank sheet of staff paper: “When I told them to take notes, but I didn’t mean ALL of them.”

Vance captures on paper all our musical obsessions, our strange perspective on the world looking out from behind that long hollow tube, and our inside jokes and debates:

Flautist or Flutist?
You say a flautist. We say a flutist.
A flautist, a flutist,
A flaunter, a tootist.
Don’t flaunt the fact that we flaut the flute
We’re not all Italian; don’t mix up the root.
It sounds too pretentious when one flauts the flute.
And since we are flutists, we all give a hoot!

(Not a limerick, but just a sly poem on a subject he couldn’t resist!)

I never laugh so hard as when I am in the company of the irrepressible guitarist/composer Howard Vance and his flutist wife Beverly - and this small book of his hilarious drawings, puns, forced rhymes and clever word play will tickle my funny bone (and yours as well) until we next meet at the NFA convention in August 2009. (J.E.P.)

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5. American Reflections, CD by Leonard Garrison, flute and piccolo, and Jonathan Sokasits, piano. Released by Albany Records, 915 Broadway, #7 Albany, NY, on Troy CD 1062. Price: 16.99. Order on line at: http://www.albanyrecords.com .

Leonard Garrison, currently President of the National Flute Association and Professor of Flute at the University of Utah, has followed his aptly titled “Super Flute” album with this new recording of important works by modern American composers. Featured here are Robert Beaser’s Souvenirs for piccolo and piano, a 2002 suite of contrasting movements that is rather like a bookend companion to his well-known Mountain Songs for flute and guitar, and his earlier (1982) Variations for flute and piano, which is more formal in mood and construction while making extraordinary demands on the performers—which they handle with aplomb. Also included are Lukas Foss’ Three American Pieces, his 1992 revision for flute and piano of an earlier violin version, which now seems destined to become a standard in the flute repertoire; and Ingolf Dahl’s Variations on a Swedish Folktune for solo flute (1945).

Garrison’s playing combines great virtuosity, superb control of musical expression, and high energy with lyricism. He makes the most difficult technical passage seem easy and extreme dynamics and wide leaps appear effortless. It is quickly evident on the Beaser Souvenirs that he is a specialist on the piccolo, and the other works show him throughout at his flutistic best with a clear, focused, and singing tone throughout the range of the instrument. Pianist Sokasits is rhythmic, sensitive, and fleet as he provides a sure harmonic foundation and balanced melodic interplay with the flute. (J.E.P.)

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6. Flute Etudes Book II; 48 Flute Etudes in All Keys, Selected and Introduced by Mary Karen Clardy, Professor of Flute at the University of North Texas. Published by Schott Edition Number ED30015 and distributed in the U.S. by Hal Leonard Corp. 1212 Innovation Dr. P.O. Box 227 Winona, Minnesota 55987. HL #49016928. Price: $24.95 Order at music retailers or on-line at: http://www.halleonard.com/how_order.jsp .

Following the great success of her first volume of selected etudes, Clardy has organized and edited another more advanced set which provides two challenging etudes in each of the 24 major and minor keys. Studies from the following composers are found in this anthology: Joachim Anderson, selections from Op. 15, 30, 33, 41 and 63); Theobald Boehm’s Caprices Op. 26 and Melodious Etudes Op. 37; B.T. Berbiguier’s 18 Etudes; Anton Fuerstenau’s Op. 80; Karg-Elert’s Caprices, Op. 107; Ernesto Koehler’s Op. 33 Etudes and Romantic Etude 18 “The Wind”; Friederich Kuhlau’s Divertissment, Op. 63; Nicolo Paganini’s Caprices Op. 1; J.J. Quantz’ Caprice No. 8 and a Fantasia; and Wm. Schade’ Caprices and Impromptu Etudes.

The etudes area arranged around the cycle of fifths and the editor has also included brief suggestions for how to practice each etude as well as short biographies of each composer. The book concludes with examples of all the major scales, minor scales, chromatic scales and arpeggios. The book is well-produced with excellent layout and clean printing, but no additional indications of dynamics or where to breathe. (J.E.P.)

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