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					                                          Op. 2 Suite 4



        Jacques-Martin Hotteterre (1674-1763) grew up in a musical family but quickly
became its most celebrated member. Due to his method book published in 1707, Jacques
is thought to have been a fashionable teacher of aristocratic amateurs, perhaps with an
international reputation. His works for flute and basso continuo are of special historical
significance because of Hotteterre‟s pedagogical standing in his time. They were
published in two separate editions, the second is an enlarged version of the first
containing scrupulously marked ornaments in accordance with the composer‟s idea of
good taste; “As far as good taste and proper performance are concerned I have indicated
the ornaments in the most essential places whenever it was possible to do so.”1 To the
modern ear these ornaments can sound extremely ornate even to the detriment of the
musical line, but his markings in the second edition are clear. He continues, “These are
the things that I deem necessary for the proper understanding of the pieces; I do hope that
if you pay attention to these short remarks you will arrive at playing these pieces and
many other correctly because these rules are of general validity.”2
        In accordance with performance and compositional practices of the time the
pieces are arranged in a suite beginning with a Prelude (introductory music) followed by
a variety of dance movements, including the Gavotte, Branle, and Minuet.




                                                        Sonata

        Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) was a French composer and pianist. A forward and
direct thinking musician, he wasn‟t always taken seriously as a composer. He was also
one of the first openly gay composers. Poulenc is known for his fun loving personality

1
  Mariassy, Istavan (1990). J.-M. Hotteterre Suites pour flute trav. et basse continue Op.2. Budapest: Edito Musica
Budapest.
2
  ibid
but also as a man who felt emotions deeply especially the loss of close personal friends.
In the last 50 years since their composition Poulenc‟s wind sonatas have been
unflaggingly popular, and have earned a respected place in the repertoire.
         The first official mention of the flute sonata came in 1952 in The Chestarian, the
official magazine of the Chester Music Publishing house, announcing that “Francis
Poulenc is at present writing a Sonata for Flute and Piano, which is hoped will be ready
for publication early next year. The work is being specially composed for a „ well-known
American flautist.”3 Poulenc however, quickly became engrossed in what many consider
to be the seminal work of his career “Dialogues of the Carmelites” an Opera about a
convent of Carmelite nuns that were martyred near the end of the French Revolution.
Elements of this opera can be heard in all of his wind sonatas that were published very
shortly following the completion of the opera. By Poulenc‟s own admission he “ imbued
it (the flute sonata) with the musical spirit of Soeur Constance”, a character whose faith
radiates joy all around her and enables her to overcome all fear of death and damnation.
While working on the sonata Poulenc was commissioned by the Coolidge Foundation to
write a piece in memory of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Poulenc who according to
Chester had already promised a piece to a “well known American flautist” calls up his
friend Jean-Pierre Rampal (well known French flutist) and says “you know you‟ve
always wanted me to write a sonata for flute and piano? Well, I‟m going to…and best of
all the Americans are going to pay for it! I‟ve been commissioned by the Coolidge
foundation to write a chamber piece in memory of Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. I never
knew her, so I think the piece is yours”.4 Rampal gave the Sonata‟s premiere at the
Strasbourg Festival in 1956.
         The sonata embodies the spirits of both Constance and Poulenc, the music is at
once vivacious and melancholy, spicy and serene. A highlight of the sonata is the second
movement entitled Cantilena, with a hauntingly beautiful melody with a deep sense of
mourning that recalls the tragic end of the opera.




                                                  Sonata




3
  Schmidt, Harper, Carl, Partirica (Ed.). (1994). Francis Poulenc Sonata for Flute and Piano. London: Chester Music
Limited. The flutist mentioned is mostly likely Julius Baker.
4
  ibid
        Walter Hamor Piston Jr. (1894 –1976) was an American composer and music
theorist. A truly local composer, he studied at Harvard University and continued his
studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger. He taught at Harvard University and the Longy
School and for many years and enjoyed a close relationship with the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, which gave the first performances of eleven of his works. His Sonata for Flute
and Piano (1930), is dedicated to the Boston Symphony's principal flutist at the time,
Georges Laurent. The sonata shows the influence of his period in Paris (a hotbed of flute
playing and flute music) but is distinctly American sounding. Piston also studied the
twelve-tone composition technique of Arnold Schoenberg and aspects of it can be seen in
the Sonata for Flute and Piano.




                                                       Sequenza I
        Luciano Berio (1925-2003) was an Italian composer, known for his
experimental and groundbreaking working in both acoustic and electronic music. His
series of solo Sequenze extend through a major portion of his career beginning in early
1952 with his first sketches of the solo flute Sequenza and ending in 2000 with the
Sequenza for solo cello. According to Berio,
         All the Sequenzas for solo instruments are intended to set out and melodically develop an essentially harmonic
         discourse and to suggest, particularly in the case of the monodic instruments, a polyphonic mode of listening. I
         wanted to establish a way of listening so strongly conditioned as to constantly suggest a latent, implicit counterpoint5

        The flute Sequenza was completed in 1958 and dedicated to famous Italian flutist
Severino Gazzelloni. It was the first piece in the woodwind literature to employ
multiphonics (a technique of producing multiple pitches simultaneously on wind
instruments), makes frequent use of flutter tongue (a technique produced by either rolling
the tounge as in an “r” sound in Spanish, or vibrating the throat) and contains notated key
slaps (the sound of the keys depressing either in conjunction with tone or by themselves).
The Sequenza has appeared in many different notations in Berio‟s quest to achieve
accurate performance. His first attempt was to use precise metered notation however, his
performer was unable to handle the incredibly complex rhythms. Which gave rise to the
spatial or proportional notation used in the first published edition that is known as the
1958 version. By incorporating this element of flexibility Berio increased the
accessibility of performance but also opened the door to inaccurate performances. With
incredible diplomacy, Berio makes this clear in his response to Aurele Nicolet‟s initial
recording:



5
 Sequenza http://www.uiowa.edu/~cnm/. Retrieved January 31, 2008, from Music of Our Time September 28, 2001
Web site: http://www.uiowa.edu/~cnm/36.010928.html
            I would like to thank you for your recording, which is very virtuosissimo and very wonderful. But permit me to make
           some comments. This piece has already been recorded several times, unfortunately always in an imprecise manner.
           This time I have the chance to intervene before the record is pressed and I have the privilege to get a recording by an
           artist as good as you; I would not want to miss the opportunity to receive an interpretation that could serve as a model
           and as a reference for other performers. In your recording, there is a misunderstanding: it is with regard to the
           proportions of time and speeds. It is not so much the question of slower or faster speed, but rather-once a speed is
           selected- the proportions of the durations. It follows as a consequence that one must also choose a tempo ( I have MM
           70 indicated, that should be interpreted with a little flexibility), which permits one to respect these proportional
           relations. These proportions will always be a little approximate to be sure because of the adopted notation. But I only
           selected this “proportional” notation in order to allow a certain accommodation for the interpreter in the extremely
           dense and quick passages. Each flutist can therefore adapt the degree of speed, but always keeping the indicated
           proportions.6

Berio‟s further explains:
           I considered the piece so difficult for the instrument I didn‟t want to impose rhythmical patterns. I wanted the player to
           wear the piece as a dress not a “straight jacket”. But as a result even good performers were taking liberties that didn‟t make
           sense. Taking the spatial notation almost as a pretext for improvisation. Certainly some flexibility is part of the conception
           of the work. But the overall speed, the high amount of register shifts, the fact that all parameters are constantly under
           pressure, will automatically bring a feeling of instability, an openness which is part of the expressive quality of the work
           “work in progress character. 7

Forty-two years later in 2000 a frustrated Berio came out with a new edition, which is
still “unmetered” but contains traditionally notated rhythms. The consensus among
flutists is that the 1958 notation is the piece and the 2000 edition is one interpretation of
it. Today‟s performance is of the 1958 version with influence from the 2000 edition.




                                                                  Undine




         Carl Heinrich Carsten Reinecke (1824 –1910) a German composer, conductor and
pianist was a well-known composer and performer in his own time. Despite an extensive
body of work (including concertos for violin, harp and flute) arguably his best-known
work is his flute sonata “Undine”. The sonata is based on a tale found in the 19th century
novel Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. The novel made a great impact on readers
and it is no surprise that it quickly inspired music, ballets, artwork and poetry. The story
centers around a water spirit named Undine8, who is the daughter of the king of the sea.
According to the story these sea-maidens are more beautiful and have longer lives than
their mortal/ land dwelling counterparts. The one thing that these water spirits lack, and

6
    Halfyard, Janet (Ed.). (2007). Berio's Sequenzas. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company.
7
    ibid
8
    Also sometimes spelled Ondine.
that Undine longs for in the story, is an immortal soul.9 In the story the only way to have
an immortal soul is through uniting in love with a mortal man and bearing his child.
Unfortunately, with an immortal soul comes a mortal body.
        The first movement of the sonata portrays Undine in her watery world; the deep
murmuring and splashing of the water is portrayed in running 16th notes in the piano and
flute parts. The fluidity of the watery environment is represented by effortless large
legato leaps in the flute part. Undine‟s innocence and beauty are portrayed alternately by
beautiful and playful melodies in the flute and piano. There is also a veiled sense of
longing throughout the movement signifying Undine‟s longing for an immortal soul.
        The second movement portrays Undine after she has left the water kingdom and is
discovered as a child on the seashore by a fisherman, who raises her with his wife as their
own daughter. They are often perplexed by her unusual behavior and naughtiness
portrayed with off beat 16th notes traded between flute and piano. However, they continue
to love her as shown in a warm peasant like melody in the piano alone. During this period
Undine meets her future husband, and it is love at first sight; depicted by a haunting love
melody near the end of the movement. The movement ends with the same playful and
youthful material from the beginning.
        Undine falls deeply in love with the dashing knight and they marry. The third
movement portrays their love, captured by sinuous melodies intertwined between flute
and piano that seldom rises above the flute‟s warm low register. During their marriage,
Undine‟s uncle comes with a warning that if her husband ever raised a hand or a voice
against her the pride of the water spirits would not allow her to continue to live with him.
Moreover, if he should stray from her, he would have to die. This threat is clearly heard
in an angry flourish, announced by a watery motive in the piano about half way through
the movement. Undine, in her innocence, doesn‟t think much of this ominous warning
and the movement ends with the love theme.
 As their marriage continues Undine bears a child (the final step into her mortal life).
During this period her husband becomes increasingly concerned with her odd behavior
and loss of attractiveness and strays from her. His concern turns to anger and he forces
her to return to the sea while he marries another woman. One day Undine finds her
husband with the other woman and utters a curse; “ You swore faithfulness to me with
every waking breath, and I accepted your oath. So be it. As long as you are awake, you
shall ever have your breath, but should you ever fall asleep, then that breath will be taken
from you and you will die”10
        The finale is intense and you can hear both her husbands scolding and Undine‟s
longing for her former loving husband and beautiful life. Undine is conflicted but
remembering the promise she gave to her Uncle gives her husband the kiss that kills him.
Undine then secretly attends his funeral where she suddenly vanishes, reappearing as a
spring of water from which two small springs encircle the new grave. The return of the
love theme from the second movement shows Undine‟s undying love even though it has
killed them both.


9
 According to the myth water spirits have immortal bodies but not souls.
10
   Ondine (mythology). (2007, December 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 05:55,
January 20, 2008, from
http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ondine_%28mythology%29&oldid=178358883

				
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