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Il Pastore Svizzero, for flute and piano
An Italian composer known mainly for his operas, composed Il Pastore Svizzero (The Swiss Shepherd) during a period of Romantic preoccupation with nature and the idyllic past. During this period, the flute’s connection to a pastoral world appealed to composers of all nationalities. However, the actual date of composition for Il Pastore Svizzero itself is unknown. The During Morlacchi’s thirty years as Kapellmeister of the Italian Opera in Dresden, he composed dozens of works for the stage and attempted to resist the rise of the upstart German Opera, led by Carl Maria von Weber. Although he was an expert conductor and performer on several instruments, including the flute, Morlacchi only composed a few non-vocal works. Il Pastore Svizzero is a fantasy on several themes said to be of distinctly Swiss character.
Il Pastore Svizzero opens with an introduction consisting of a rapid, sparkling coloratura-like cadenza, clearly displaying Morlacchi’s skills as an opera composer, before we reach the melancholy Andantino in G minor with its long cantilena phrases. The Canzonetta Svizzera and its 2 variations follow the Andantino, which along with the Scherzetto, is a musical platform for the flautist to display unmitigated virtuosity. The Scherzetto follows Variation II of the Canzonetta Svizzera, and rounds up Il Pastore Svizzero with an emphatic and virtuosic close.
Some of Morlacchi’s most popular works include the operas La Danaïde (1810), Laodicea (1817), La Marte d’Abel (1821), Il Colombobo (1828), and Il Rinnegato (1832). He also composed 10 masses, a Requiem for the King of Saxony (1827), 2 oratorios cantatas, organ pieces, songs and a few instrumental works which include Sonatine for piano (1803), Romanza for string quartet and guitar (1834), Contradanza for flute, cor anglais, bassoon and horn, and Finaletto for flute, clarinet, horn, violin, viola and cello (which neither work bear a date of composition).
Appassionata Sonata in F sharp minor
Growing in appreciation by a widening circle of performers and discriminating audiences; the music of Sigfrid Karg-Elert represents a peak of late Romantic music in its emotional intensity. A German composer, pianist and organist especially noted for his large output of organ and harmonium music, Karg-Elert produced choral works, lieder and a considerable amount of orchestral and chamber music, and numerous works for piano. Although he composed many works for instruments other than the organ and harmonium, it is nevertheless for these that he is, perhaps, best remembered.
At the onset of the first world war, Karg-Elert was placed in the military band of the 107th infantry regiment, and it was during this time in which he composed many important works for wind, including the Appassionata Sonata for solo flute, composed in 1917. Prior to the writing of the Appassionata Sonata, Karg-Elert’s works were stylistically similar to the music of Webern and Schoenberg, but was also influenced by Brahms, Frank, Scriabin and Debussy. After what Karg-Elert described as “a musical crisis”, his writing took a new direction in 1917, and he distanced himself from the radical style of musical composition in favour of the Impressionists, late Romanticists and Neo-Classicists. Describing his new style, he wrote, “I began is C major and prayed to the muse of melody”.
The Appassionata Sonata is a classic example of Karg-Elert’s new late Romantic style and is composed as a short one-movement piece, in which the composer experiments with different mood changes. Karg-Elert includes specific performance instructions such as, mit starker Liedenschaft (with strong passion); heilich (secretly); behutsam (cautious); sehr ausdrucksvoll (very expressive) and erregt (aroused), which support his musical intentions and mood changes.
Other compositions by Karg-Elert include 8 Lieder, Op.11, (1898-1900); Suite, Op.21 - after Bizet: Jeux d’enfants (1902); 30 Capricien ‘Gradus ad Parnassum’, Op.107 for solo flute (1918-19); Sinfonische Kanzone in Eb, op.114 for flute and piano (1917); Vom Himmel hoch, chorale canzone, op.82/2 for chorus, violin, harp and organ (1912); Portraits ‘von Palestrina bis Schoenberg’, 33 pieces, op.101, for harmonium (1913-23); Kaleidoscope in E major, op.144,for organ (1930).
Sonatine for flute and Piano
An international soloist and chamber musician, Sancan was one of the leading professors of piano at the Paris Conservatoire, as well as being a composer, contemporary of Jacques Ibert. His Sonatine was conceived as a test piece for the 1946 Paris Conservatoire examinations, and although many of his compositions are published, most of them, with the exception of Sonatine for flute and piano, have been totally neglected and are still awaiting rediscovery.
The Sonatine is cast in a three-sectioned continuous movement with a style based on that of the French modernist school, and is written in an impressionistic manner with a flavour of contemporary compositional technique, which is evident through the use of flutter tonguing in the Animé. The work opens with a quiet flowing motif, which develops throughout the Moderato, and this same motif is also heard again before the end of the Animé. The piano and flute generally become equal partners in this work, with much use of imitation, and both have their own obligatory cadenza and solos, with the expressive piano cadenza emerging before the Andante espressivo, and the flute cadenza before the Animé. The Andante espressivo is one exception to the flute and piano equal partnership, where the piano clearly has an accompanying role consisting of quavers, before a climatic crescendo.
Pierre Sancan also composed a prize-winning Prix de Rome cantata, La légende d’lcare (1943); the ballet Commedia dell’Arte (1952); Piano Concerto (1955); Symphony pour Orchestra à Cordes (1961); Sonata for cello and piano (1961); Lamento et Rondo for saxophone and piano (1973); Caprice Romantique for piano (1982)
The Great Train Race, for solo flute
“The flute as you don’t usually hear it!”
Ian Clarke is a flautist/composer who in recent years has established a reputation as on of the UK’s most innovative flautists with a particular interest in contemporary works and techniques. Clarke’s compositions range from the humorous to the ethereal and often employ an array of extended techniques. His compositions are establishing themselves as some of the most exciting repertoire of today, and are being embraced by leading performers.
The Great Train Race was conceived as a showpiece for the flute. The piece has been described by Clarke as “The flute as you don’t usually hear it!” The piece uses a range of extended techniques such as the residual tones and explosive harmonics at the opening of the piece, before one is later introduced to a range of extended techniques such as flutter tonguing, multiphonics, singing whilst playing, note bending, timbral trills, and quarter-tone passages.
Other works by Ian Clarke include Orange Dawn, for flute and piano; The Mad Hatter for flute and piano; Zoom Tube for solo flute; Sunstreams and Sunday Morning for flute and piano; and Maya for 2 flutes and piano.