During the month of February I plan to play a brand new piece of music every day. In other words, a piece of music that I’ve never had the pleasure to learn before. Now some of you might be thinking this is pretty silly and not much of a challenge since I’m a flautist and get to play new music all the time, but I’m pursuing this goal for a couple of reasons. 1) Many of the pieces I have chosen will hopefully support a later goal of preparing and performing a trio recital later this year with Joe and Michael Lester, or give us additional opportunities to play at church 2) It allows me to study pieces that I didn’t get the chance to learn as a student (I plan to learn all 12 Casterede Etudes, which I simply didn’t have time for in college, but would love to learn) and 3) I’ll have the chance to learn pieces just for the fun of it! What a thought right?!? 😉
When you study the life and compositional output of most composers, you will find they were composing commissioned works (someone paid them to write that particular piece) or fulfilling a job duty from their employer. Josef Haydn for example, wasn’t just composing whatever struck his fancy in the moment, but instead he would start his morning off by asking Prince Esterhazy what he would like him to compose for that evenings musical “after dinner” entertainment. The experience for the performer is usually the same. As students, we practice what our teachers tell us to practice and as professionals we practice the music for our next performance. I’ll speak for myself here and say that I very rarely have time to just play my flute for personal enjoyment, so this month I’m making the time to do just that! 🙂
Sunday, February 1st: I’m beginning this month’s goal with Trio Sonata in D Major, Op. 37, No. 3 by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755). Boismortier was a French baroque composer who’s compositions include both solo and chamber vocal and instrumental music, staged works, cantatas and opera ballets. He began publishing his most successful works in Paris around 1724 and developed a career as a conductor around 1744. The Opus 37 Trio Sonatas is a charming collection of works displaying Boismortier’s unique Parisian style combining French elegance with a fiery Italian Allegro and Vivace movements. This particular sonata features a beautiful slow middle movement that transitions nicely into the final third movement. I could definitely see Joe and I using this piece for a church prelude.
Monday, February 2nd: On Monday I revisited the trio sonata I played the day before and added Boismortier’s, Trio Sonata in G Minor, Op. 37, No. 4. I preferred Sonata No. 3 to this sonata but definitely think it could work for background or prelude music. I don’t see myself programming this piece for a recital anytime soon.
Tuesday, February 3rd: Today I learned the third and final Boismortier trio I own, Trio Sonata in A Minor, Op. 37, No. 5. All three pieces were “sight readable” and were great easy pieces to use to brush up my baroque performance practice skills. The instrumentation is flexible enough to meet the needs of most chamber ensembles; flute/oboe/violin, cello/bassoon and basso continuo.