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Andromeda M31, for Flute Solo by Reginald Smith Brindle

Review by: Neal Zaslaw

Notes, Second Series, Vol. 25, No. 2 (Dec., 1968), pp. 329-330
Published by: Music Library Association
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Accessed: 14/06/2014 13:34

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the strings. Nothing Fortner asks for, how- Both Benhamou's and Fortner's pieces
ever, is unusual to performers of recent won prizes in a 1966 competition spon-
music. The printed score is clear, but the sored by the Royaumont Foundation.
directions for the flute do not indicate ELLSWORTH SNYDER
how the key snaps are notated. University of Wisconsin

Willem Frederik Bon: Cinq tours de it), may make this piece of interest only
passe-passe, pour flute et piano, op. 18. to serious students and professionals. The
Amsterdam: Broekmans and van Pop- flutist's line in the piano score is printed
C. F. Peters Corp., New at full size, enabling the flutist to play
pel; U.S.A.: from it. This practice, which many new
York, 1967. [Score, 8 p., $2.00] pieces employ, permits the flutist to follow
Cinq tours de passe-passe consists of a more satisfactorily the progress of the
suite of short pieces which, had they been piece than he could from a separate part,
written a hundred years earlier, might but it also necessitates the expense of two
have been called Characterstuck. This is scores. The review copy was only a single
not to imply that the idiom of the pieces score, and, therefore, to be practical a
is old-fashioned, but refers only to the library would have to buy two copies.
whimsical title (which might be trans- This would come to eighty cents a short
lated as "legerdemain" or "hocus-pocus"), piece, which is certainly not too un-
to the brevity of the pieces, and, perhaps, reasonable.
to the composer's intentions. Whether the
music itself engages in hocus-pocus is a Reginald Smith Brindle: Andromeda
matter of personal opinion and taste. In- M31, for flute solo. London: Hin-
deed, the five pieces seem considerably richsen Edition Ltd.; U.S.A.: C. F.
more serious than their title might lead
one to anticipate. The music does tend Peters Corp., New York, 1967. [7 p.,
to progress in starts and fits, but such $1.25]
episodic quality of writing is to be found Music for unaccompanied flute has en-
in much modern music of the post-Web- joyed a surprising vogue in the last sev-
ern sort. The composer, Willem Frederik eral years-surprising because of the
Bon, is apparently Dutch, but his music limited resources of the flute as a solo
has a decidedly French flavor, reminding instrument. And these very limits seem
one at moments of Messiaen. to have caused composers of otherwise
The third of the pieces is for piano divergent approaches to seek two common
solo while the fourth is for flute solo, an characteristics in their unaccompanied
arrangement which should provide effec- flute music: brevity and the search for
tive contrast in performance. In the first "new" sounds.
and second pieces the flute and piano The piece under review is no exception
answer back and forth at least as much in this regard. It falls into three move-
as they play together, while in the fifth ments marked in traditional terms,
piece the two join forces for the longest Adagio-Lirico, Lento, and Vivo, but noth-
movement-a movement which provides ing else about the piece, its sound or its
a fitting climax to the suite and which notation, could be said to be so tra-
ends with a brilliant coda. This is prob- ditional. Unless, of course, the tradition
ably not music to be performed by most referred to were that of Varese's Density
amateurs: the rhythmic and metrical com- 215 or Berio's Sequenza. (Both the nota-
plications, while certainly nothing extra- tion and the style of Andromeda M31
ordinary for 1968, may prove intract- are less traditional than the former but
able to flutists brought up solely on Ba- more so than the latter.) Brindle writes for
roque music, Kuhlau, and Hindemith. long stretches without barlines and meter
The above-mentioned difficulties, cou- signatures, but he does employ traditional
pled with other technical difficulties (in- note symbols for rhythm and pitch. The
cluding a range for the flute that ven- music has slow, lyrical sections alternating
tures beyond high c"" to the f above with rapid, leaping thirty-second-note


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passages of considerable difficulty, while notated in a clearer and more obliging
the melodic style may be described as manner.
disjunct and non-tonal.
Among the now-standard technical de- Andrew Byrne: Three Bagatelles, for
vices found here are a great deal of tremo-
lo and a dash of the omnipresent flutter- flute and piano. London: Hinrichsen
Edition Ltd.; U.S.A.: C. F. Peters
tonguing. Two passages which are marked
"toneless" are also given soft dynamic Corp., New York, 1967. [Score, 15 p.,
indications. This would seem to be a and part, $2.00]
contradiction since that which is toneless
This is good, sound, unspectacular mu-
does not have any dynamic level. Without
sic. It is easy to listen to, easy to play,
further explanation on the composer's
and, one suspects, may also be easy to
part, therefore, one does not know what
to make of this instruction, although forget. These three pieces, A u bade,
Threnody, and Roundelay, will be appre-
among the obvious possibilities might be ciated by those flutists and pianists who
(1) fingering the notes without blowing
(a possibility which would seem to be enjoy the lyrical side of their instruments
and who are attracted to Mr. Bryne's
ruled out by the dynamic signs, and for
which the usual symbol is a small cross bitter-sweet, nostalgic style-a style which
over each note), (2) playing so softly or might be termed Honeggeresque. Three
with such an unsupported tone that the Bagatelles probably could have been new
music in 1938 just as easily as in 1968,
sound could be described, when com-
but their late appearance does nothing to
pared to normal flute tone, as "toneless," detract from their unpretentious charm.
or (3) blowing in such a manner that the
instrument does not speak but that the
sounding length of the instrument can be Georges Colin: Sonate pour flute a bec
heard. This composition also makes use alto ou flute traversi6re e piano, Op.
of the old nineteenth-century flute vir- 33. Brussels: Schott Frres; U.S.A.: C.
tuoso's trick of imitating violin double F. Peters Corp., New York, 1967. [Score,
stops by trilling in one register while 15 p., and part, $2.50]
interrupting the trills so briefly, in order
to play a melody staccato in another Here we have a three-movement, serious
register, that the illusion of two simul- work. It can be compared in length,
taneous voices is created. The great nov- content, and difficulty to the well-known
elty of Andromeda M31, however, is the Hindemith flute sonata, for the ghost of
exploitation of multiple stops-double, Hindemith hovers over almost every meas-
triple, and quadruple! The flutists' grape- ure. Colin employs an extremely disso-
vine has been buzzing for a few years nant, albeit tonal, harmony coupled with
about the possibility of such maverick a busy countrapuntal texture. In addi-
multiple stops, and now here they are in tion to these and other similarities which
black and white. The composer has Colin's sonata shares with Hindemith's,
thoughtfully provided the fingerings for both pieces have a first movement in a
each of his eleven different chords and modified sonata-allegro form and a gigue
chord trills in the form of tablatures next for the third movement. Colin's second
to each one. In fact, in one free section, movement reminds one somewhat of the
he gives only the tablatures without the middle movement of Walter Piston's flute
pitches or rhythms. The chords don't sonata. In fact, flutists who are familiar
sound very beautiful-the various notes of with the flute sonatas of Hindemith,
each having a different volume and timbre, Piston, and Martinf may form some idea
and being somewhat precarious of pro- of the idiom and style of this sonata
duction-but perhaps they weren't meant by imagining a skillful admixture of the
to. At any rate, one cannot judge the three sonatas in the ratios 7:2:1. For all
usefulness of this device until flutists that, Colin is obviously an able composer
have become more accustomed to dealing and handles his material well. According
with it and we to hearing it. All in all, to the printed edition, the flute part
Andromeda M31 has considerable interest may also be performed on the alto re-
and novelty, but could perhaps have been corder, and, indeed, one notices that the

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