Meowy Flutin’ Christmas!

Meowy Flutin’ Christmas! Tee Hee! 😉 December has been an absolute whirlwind with the holidays quickly approaching. I’ve finally ordered and mailed our Christmas cards, finished our shopping, wrapped all of our gifts with the assistance of Santa’s Little Destroyers…I mean Helpers, and completed my first round of holiday baking.

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My flute choir performed two out of three holiday performances, we attended the Nutcracker where we ran into two of our sweet little students, and we attended multiple holiday parties.

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We’ve been working on our websites. Yes, I said we! Joe made his own, beat me to the finish line, and is now helping me finish mine! Guys With Goals 2016? We have a couple days of work left, a rehearsal or two (million), too many holiday parties to keep track of, and several gigs. I’ll be judging recordings for a flute competition in the next couple of days and there’s something else I’m forgetting…oh yeah, I need to learn a new piece of music and make a recording in 11 days! BAHAHAH! (Brooke, note to self….lets choose really easy goals for December 2016!) 😉

I chose a solo flute piece that has been on my “wish list” for way too long,”Les Folies d’Espagne” by Marin Marais (1656-1728). The piece originally appeared in Marais’ Pieces de violes, Book II (1701), and he intended it to be accessible to a number of instruments, including the flute. Maris’ Folies is a set of thirty-two variations on the famous Folia theme. There are variations in rhythm, melodic contour, ornamentation, articulation, and even dynamics. The main melody is a very popular sarabande of it’s time. Folia meant “mad” or “empty-headed” and was associated with a fast and noisy Spanish dance. The style traveled to the court of Louis XIV, where it was adapted by French composers. The Folia known to the French as “folie(s) d’Espagne” became slow and dignified with a framework that consists of a melodic line over a harmonic accompaniment.

I’m recording the 1956 Barenreiter edition for solo flute edited by Hans-Peter Schmitz, which offers twenty-five variations. In the future, I could use two accompanied versions. (Leduc, 1978 and Zimmermann, 1983) These editions vary in number of variations, presence and absence of accompaniment, choice of key, as well as other subtleties. Many composers have used the famous sarabande melody called folia as the basis for cycles of variations (Folies d’Espagne). Hans-Peter Schmitz’ arrangement for flute agrees with the flexible scoring and performance practice of the first half of the 18th century. Stayed tuned for my final post of 2015 and a recording of Marais’ “Les Folies d’Espagne”! Meowy Flutin’ Christmas to all, and to all a good night! (Okay, I’ll stop saying Meowy Flutin’ Christmas!) 😉