Noteworthy Sheet Music, LLC

Uncommon Sheet Music for Flute and Alto Flute

The table below lists articles written by Noteworthy Sheet Music's associates, published elsewhere but reproduced on the NSM website for the convenience of our visitors.  Click on the specific article title link in the "Article Title" column to read the piece here, or click on the "Source" link to read it at the original publication site.

 

Author Article Title Source
Pratt  Arranging Haydn's Adagios for Flute, or Alto Flute, and Piano  Flute Focus
Bloom  Foreword to Debussy's Première Rhapsodie trans. for Alto Flute Flute Focus
Pratt  Mozart's Mannheim Sonatas  Flute Focus

The table below lists the works in Noteworthy Sheet Music's catalog that have received outside critical reviews.  Click on the individual title link in the "Piece Reviewed" column to read the review.  

 

Composer/Author Trans./Arr. Piece/Book Reviewed Instr. Reviewer
Benavides n/a The Piano in Spain n/a Santa Maria Bouquet
Fado, trad. Figueiredo Na Rua dos Meus Ciúmes WW Quintet Ranck
Traditional Nicholson Coolun, A Favorite Irish Air with Four Variations Flute, ad lib Piano or Harp Borst Jones
Tchaikovsky Rupert  The Nutcracker Flute & Harp Price-Glynn
Tchaikovsky Rupert The Nutcracker Flute & Piano Ranck
Vercoe n/a Butterfly Effects Flute(s) & Harp Riner
Vercoe n/a Kleemation Flute & Piano Bloom
Vercoe n/a Kleemation Flute & Piano Kafka
Vercoe n/a Kleemation Flute & Piano Passarella
Walckiers n/a 2nd Book of Duets, Op.11 2 Flutes Borst Jones
Walckiers n/a 5th Book of Duets, Duetto 1 2 Flutes Plummer

John W. Pratt’s engaging article describing the rationale and underlying processes involved in the creation of effective, compelling music arrangements for flute and piano duo, specifically those he has created of a few of Haydn’s Adagios, was published by Flute Focus on July 15, 2012.  We have reproduced the article here, with permission from Flute Focus.  

 

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Arranging Haydn's Adagios for Flute, or Alto Flute, and Piano

Written by John W. Pratt

  

Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), father of the symphony, string quartet, and piano sonata, unfortunately left no known compositions for flute and keyboard duo (see Grove Music Online), although he had a fine appreciation for the flute and used it extensively in his larger ensemble and orchestral works. There is, however, a long and valued tradition of creating transcriptions of Haydn's marvellous music, although fewer are for flute and keyboard than one might hope, and our flute and piano partnership has enjoyed taking up the challenge. We have identified a few wonderful movements that, when carefully and respectfully arranged for this instrumentation, are as effective and delightful as the originals and allow one to hear them when one might never otherwise, or with new ears if one is already familiar with them.

One example is the slow movement of his 24th symphony (1764), a beautiful Adagio for flute solo accompanied by strings, with even a place for a cadenza. Haydn's flute part needs no change, of course, but it was an enjoyable outlet for a would-be composer to write a cadenza based closely on Haydn's material and style, of a length and freedom suitable to a movement standing alone, with only a pianist, not a full orchestra, waiting in admiration. The string parts, however, require not just transcription but significant adaptation to the piano's sonority. For instance, some of the murmuring in octaves by the strings becomes etude-like on the piano, calling for thoughtful selection of which notes to omit in light of the flute part as well as the piano sound. On the other hand, the lower octaves played by the double bass are surprisingly essential, giving the piano an orchestral feel. Interestingly, going down to the low E of the double basses proves to be just right on the piano.

We are fans of the alto flute, and we found that an arrangement of the Adagio from Symphony No.24 for alto flute that is mellower than that for flute, but also extremely beautiful, is obtained by lowering the pitch a minor third. A fourth would allow the alto flute to read the C-flute part directly but feels too low all around. Less than a minor third works for the piano but does not show the alto to greatest advantage.

Haydn wrote many wonderful string quartets throughout his life. His early ones, especially the three sets of six written in 1768–1771 (Opus 9, Opus 17, and the "Sun" quartets Opus 20), are generally considered to have advanced immensely the development of the classical string quartet. The flute can, of course, play the first violin part in string quartets, raising it an octave where necessary and finessing the double stops in some way, but string quartets usually have no need or reason to seek flutes for violin parts. Arrangement for flute and piano obviates this issue, however, and can work well when, for example, the first violin is featured and the other strings support it.

The third movement of Haydn's Opus 20, No. 5, is an Adagio with a simple melody that is treated to delightful filigreed elaboration and obbligato decoration by the first violin. Although more complex string quartet movements may be unsuited to transcription for keyboard and one other instrument, the soloistic nature of the violin part and the simplicity of the lower string parts in this lovely Adagio lend themselves to arrangement for flute and piano. In several passages we found it desirable to raise the violin part an octave to suit the characteristics of the flute, as well, of course, as its range. When the other string parts are transcribed for piano, some octave changes improve the sonic characteristics and help keep the string lines clear, especially where they cross, and partial octave doubling of the melody here and there improves its sound on the piano.

The lowest note available on most alto flutes is the same as the violin's lowest note, so simply transposing the violin part would solve all problems were their characteristics not so different. The third movements of Haydn's Opus 17, No. 1 and Opus 17, No. 2 are both Adagios with gorgeous violin melodies that are harmonized simply by the other three strings. Happily these melodies are equally beautiful on alto flute with very few alterations. When transcribing the other string parts for the piano, octave adjustments are again desirable, for the reasons mentioned earlier. Opus 17, No. 2 also has some passages where we found that the life that strings might add in their way could be supplied most effectively on the piano by further elaboration in the style of Haydn's keyboard music, and it was advantageous to exchange two very high notes for alto flute with the piano a third lower.

With all the music we have played together, from Bach to Walckiers to Martinu to Taktakishvili, these Haydn arrangements for flute and piano are among our favorite repertoire. They are true to the Haydn we revere, yet they also work and are enjoyable for players and audiences alike.

John W. Pratt, May 27, 2012 ©

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John W. Pratt is a retired Harvard Business School professor and pianist whose transcriptions and arrangements are published by Noteworthy Sheet Music, LLC (click here to view all his catalog listings)

 

On April 21, 2013, Flute Focus published the foreword to Noteworthy Sheet Music's transcription of Claude Debussy's Première Rhapsodie for alto flute. This interesting and enlightening foreword, written by flutist Peter H. Bloom, is presented below in it's entirety. 

 

Transcription of Claude Debussy's Première Rhapsodie For Alto Flute

Foreword to Noteworthy Sheet Music's recent publication of a transcription of Debussy's Première Rhapsodie For Alto Flute by Peter H Bloom

 

Most flutists, especially those who've become interested in performing on alto flute, are well acquainted with the long and storied tradition of the Morceaux de Concours of the Paris Conservatory. From the early nineteenth-century through the present, candidates for graduation from the conservatory have been required to perform a prescribed examination piece, morceau de concours, before a jury of professors. With rare exceptions, a special morceau was commissioned for each instrument every year.

Often written hastily and with attention to then-current stylistic and technical concerns, the majority of the Morceaux des Concours are undistinguished, derivative, dated, and by definition, mediocre. Sometimes, however, a composer found the constraints of deadline, orchestration, and duration to be inspiring; and occasionally the commission of a Morceau de Concours results in an enduring treasure. Claude Debussy's Première Rhapsodie for clarinet, written for the examination of 1910, is such a gem.

First performed in July of that year by eleven (!) candidates for a jury that included Debussy himself, the Première Rhapsodie was immediately well received by players and auditors alike. Clarinetists, for over a century, have considered it an essential element in the repertoire.

I hadn't, as a flutist, been particularly knowledgeable about the Première Rhapsodie until I received the roster of a masterclass I was preparing to present. Among the participants was a clarinetist who had chosen to perform Debussy's Première Rhapsodie. I decided that the best way to become familiar with the piece was to adapt it, as well as I could, to the flute.

My sense of the Première Rhapsodie progressed quickly from challenging, to charming, to utterly captivating, but adapting it to the concert flute wasn't going to work. The range was wrong, the sonorities didn't work, and the "Debussy-esque" sensibility just didn't translate. While I was considering what a shame it was that we flutists couldn't poach this exquisite item, I returned to practicing the obbligato to Schubert's Der Hirt auf dem Felsen in its alto flute transcription (also published by Noteworthy Sheet Music) and inspiration struck.

Noteworthy Sheet Music editor-in-chief Carol Vater responded to my suggestion with enthusiasm and immediately set to work on this sensitive and beautifully edited transcription, for alto flute, of thePremière Rhapsodie. Purists may argue that such a re-imagining of this piece is sacrilege. Perhaps, but consider that the clarinetist to whom the piece was dedicated, Prosper Mimart (and many of his students), performed with the "reed up" technique and a both-lips-in embouchure that produced a sound unlike that of most clarinetists today.

As we adopt Debussy's Première Rhapsodie, we should be mindful that the composer's instructions to the clarinetist (especially concerning articulations, paired slurrings, and dynamics) will require extra attention and insight from the flutist. Here we have an opportunity to apply Marcel Moyse's principles of artistry through emulation.

P.H. Bloom, December 29, 2012 ©

Flutist Peter H. Bloom performs diverse chamber music from period-instrument performances to new music premieres. He is also a noted jazz artist. He concertizes widely, appears on 35 recordings, and is a winner of the American Musicological Society's Noah Greenberg Award. He has given lectures, workshops and master classes across the globe on such wideranging topics as historical performance, new music, jazz and improvisation. Mr. Bloom serves as Editorial Consultant for Noteworthy Sheet Music, LLC. His own transcriptions of the Bach Chaconne, Schubert Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, and Hatton/Longfellow The Wreck of the Hesperus are available at www.NoteworthySheetMusic.com.

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“Mozart’s Mannheim Sonatas”, a highly interesting & informative article written by John W. Pratt was published by Flute Focus on November 5, 2012.  John has contributed numerous arrangements & transcriptions to NSM’s catalog, including transcriptions for alto flute of all the "Mannheim" sonatas.  We re-publish his article here, with permission. 

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Mozart’s Mannheim Sonatas

Written by John W. Pratt

 

In 1777-78, on the way to Mannheim, where he wrote the first two of his flute quartets, Mozart became acquainted with six violin sonatas by Joseph Schuster. He was sufficiently impressed that he sent them to his sister and planned to write six himself in the same style. In fact he wrote seven, now known as the “Mannheim sonatas”. He started work on them around the time he finished the second of the flute quartets, completing five in Mannheim and two (K.304 and K.306) later in Paris after his mother died. They are the first violin sonatas of his maturity, and are not only as delightful as one would expect, but also significant in his musical development and the development of chamber-music style generally. They elevate the violin to an interesting and essential role and advance the interplay between the instruments. The violin leads as often as the piano and is crucial to the orchestration but is largely spared Mozart's typical keyboard passage work.

 

Flutists regret that Mozart created so little chamber music featuring the flute. Along with the four flute quartets, there remains only a diminutive Adagio and Rondo for glass-harmonica, flute, oboe, viola, and cello (K.617). Happily the violin parts of the Mannheim sonatas are perfectly suited to transcription for alto flute. They rarely make significant use of double stops and their range and character are in general well served by the alto. In fact, K.301 was begun with flute in mind, and Alfred Einstein [1] points to “the flutelike character of K.303 as well”. Indeed the flute can execute with elegance some accompaniment figures that Einstein considers “not really appropriate” to the violin.

 

The six sonatas K.301-306 were published as a set in 1778. K.296, among the earliest composed, was not published until 1781. K.296 and K.306 have three movements each. The rest, like most of Schuster's, have only two movements in the style of the older tradition (although Mozart had all along included significant slow middle movements in his solo piano sonatas). The movements display great variety, however. In particular, they almost all differ structurally, whether because Mozart wanted to experiment, gave rein to his fertile imagination, reacted creatively to his musical materials, or all three. Some highlights of the individual sonatas are described below.

 

K.301 pairs a sunny Allegro con spirito with what amounts to a charming allegrominuet with a trio section in the minor, although it is as near a Beethoven scherzo as a Haydn minuet. The ebullient K.302 has an Allegro with an unusual call to attention in 3/4 time, and a rondo, Andante grazioso, with a forward-moving theme that is variously and charmingly re-orchestrated.

 

Both movements of K.303 are quite different from others of the set. The first is in sonata form without development, in an older style in some ways but advanced in others. In the exposition, the first theme and transition to the dominant are adagio while the second theme is allegro; in the recapitulation, the violin elaborates the adagio first theme and the piano figures accompanying the allegro second theme are inverted. Sadie [2] says Mozart derived this structure from Schuster, while Einstein harks back to Mozart's “beloved Johann Christian Bach” and says, "it is noticeable at times that he [Mozart] finds himself on new and unexplored paths." The second movement is an old-style minuet (without trio), ending with a pedal point terminating in a tremble.

 

K.304 initiated my interest in the Mannheim sonatas. Mozart's works in minor keys are rare and special; consider his Symphony No.40 and the G-minor quintet. K.304, his only work in E minor, and the piano sonata in A minor, K.310, were written the summer that his mother died, an association often noted. K.304 epitomizes Mozart’s ability to achieve great power with spare means. Einstein says it "is one of the miracles among Mozart's works; it springs from the most profound depths of emotion and goes beyond the alternating dialogue style to knock at those gates of the great world of drama which Beethoven was to fling wide open. Mozart does not become pathetic, and this reserve, this concealment of an inner fire, together with--in the portion in major of the Tempo di Minuetto--a brief glimpse of bliss, only enhances the mysterious power of this apparently ‘little’ sonata. As always when Mozart is deeply in earnest, he has recourse to ... counterpoint; in this sonata he uses it to accentuate the transitions." The bliss is so sublime that one is tempted to take an extra repeat.

 

Whereas K.304 is by far the most introspective of the Mannheim sonatas, K.305 is perhaps the most completely extroverted. Like K.302, it opens with four emphatically tonic measures, followed by a gentle, linear four-bar theme, all immediately repeated. Here, however, the repeat is identical and is omitted in the recapitulation, while the first half of the development is based on inverting the opening material. The second movement of K.305 is the only movement of the Mannheim sonatas in theme-and-variations form. It is far from routine. The theme has an unusual variety of rhythms and accompaniment figurations; the 32nd-note variation is the very first; the minor variation is at the prevailing tempo; and a brief piano cadenza interrupts the antepenultimate variation’s peroration. The violin contributes to the inventiveness, variously leading, trading ideas with the piano, playing in thirds with it, adding color in unison or octaves, and even staying silent for a whole variation.

 

K.306 is the longest and showiest of the Mannheim sonatas, having three large-scale movements with some almost orchestral textures, much doubling, and brilliant passage work. The first movement’s development, after an 8-bar canon to set the stage, expands four transitional bars of the exposition into a far-reaching harmonic excursion in twelve 2-bar steps. The recapitulation begins with the second subject and returns to the first so late it amounts to a coda, the only instance of ‘mirror’ sonata-form in the Mannheim set. In contrast, the second movement, Andante cantabile, has a structurally orthodox sonata form, compressing and ornamenting the themes in the recapitulation, as befits the tempo. The finale is an elaborate rondo alternating between allegretto in 2/4 and allegro in 6/8, with several grand pauses and a huge, 46-bar cadenza initiated by the piano with the violin joining in (compare the piano’s arpeggio terminating in a chromatic scale in a single bar of K.304).

 

Mozart dedicated K.296 to his pupil Therese-Pierron Serrarius, his Mannheim landlord’s 15-year old daughter. If Mozart responded to her youthfulness, however, it was not with smaller scale or easier writing but with, for example, turns brightening the opening fanfares, quick trills in the first theme, and contrasting textures and sparkling interplay between the instruments. (Sadie calls K.296 “light, almost playful”.) The first movement follows “normal” sonata form although the recapitulation omits the last part of the first subject, this part having been used to open a rather short development which consists otherwise of new material. Einstein says the second movement, Andante sostenuto, “is an instrumental arietta, of which both the theme and the character of the accompaniment are taken almost note for note from an aria by the London master [Johann Christian Bach] (Dolce aurette). But in Johann Christian we find none of the daring modulations of the middle section.” In the concluding Rondo, the instruments swap the theme at the opening and the two returns, as well as much of the episodic material. The first episode modulates to the dominant where there is a “second theme”, and the second episode recapitulates this second theme in the tonic after modulating to the relative minor and the subdominant. The movement is thus a sonata-rondo.

 

I have transcribed the violin parts of all seven of the Mozart Mannheim sonatas for alto flute, so that my flute duo partner and I, and flute-piano partnerships generally, could enjoy playing and performing these wonderful pieces. We hope others will find them as delightful as we have.

 

[1] Einstein, Alfred, 1945. Mozart, trans. Mendel and Broder, Oxford U. Press, pp.253-255.

[2] Sadie, Stanley, 1980. “Mozart” in The New Grove, Stanley Sadie ed., Macmillan, vol. 12, p.697.

John W. Pratt, 2012 ©

  

 

John W. Pratt is a retired Harvard Business School professor and pianist whose transcriptions and arrangements are published by Noteworthy Sheet Music, LLC (visit www.NoteworthySheetMusic.com to view all his catalog listings).

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