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Of instrumental value : flutist-composer collaboration in the creation of new music McGregor, Mark Takeshi 2012

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OF INSTRUMENTAL VALUE: FLUTIST – COMPOSER COLLABORATION IN THE CREATION OF NEW MUSIC by MARK TAKESHI MCGREGOR B.Mus., The University of British Columbia, 1995 M.Mus., The University of Sydney, 2003  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF MUSICAL ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Orchestral Instruments)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver) August 2012  © Mark Takeshi McGregor, 2012.  Abstract  Following World War II, the flute would become a major vehicle for experimental composers, resulting in a repertoire that made extensive use of techniques outside the instrument’s traditional performance lexicon. In order for composers to write effectively and idiomatically for the flute, collaboration with performers was often essential. This document discusses the contributions of three flutists to the creation of new music in the 20th and 21st centuries. Chapter One focuses on the Italian flutist Severino Gazzelloni, a major figure in the postwar experimental music scene, and his contributions to the creation of two works: Sequenza I per flauto solo by Luciano Berio and Mei for solo flute by Kazuo Fukushima. Chapter Two discusses the work of the Canadian flutist Robert Aitken and his role in the genesis of Ryoanji for flute by John Cage, Idyll for the Misbegotten for flute and three percussion by George Crumb, and Scrivo in Vento for solo flute by Elliot Carter. Chapter Three addresses my own collaborations with three Canadian composers, Jeffrey Ryan, James Beckwith Maxwell, and Jocelyn Morlock, and how my interactions compared to those of my predecessors. This document also sheds light on the recent phenomenon of how many flutists have incorporated administrative roles into their careers to ensure that the works they have commissioned are presented to the highest professional standards.  !  ii!  Table of Contents Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………ii Table of Contents……….………………………………………………………………...iii List of Musical Examples………...………………………………………………………iv Acknowledgements.……………………………………………………………………….v Dedication……………………………………………………………………………… INTRODUCTION...………………………………………………………………………1 CHAPTER 1 Severino Gazzelloni and the music of Berio and Fukushima……………………………..7 Luciano Berio: Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958)……………………………….14 Kazuo Fukushima: Mei for solo flute (1962)………………………………….....29 CHAPTER 2 Robert Aitken and the music of Cage, Crumb, and Carter………………………………40 John Cage: Ryoanji (1984)……………………………………………………….43 George Crumb: An Idyll for the Misbegotten (1985)……………………….........50 Elliot Carter: Scrivo in Vento (1991) ……………………………………………58 CHAPTER 3 Mark Takeshi McGregor and the music of Ryan, Maxwell, and Morlock………………66 Jeffrey Ryan: Yūrei for solo flute (2010)………………………………………...69 James Beckwith Maxwell: limina for flute, percussion and piano (2008).……...81 Jocelyn Morlock: L for solo alto flute (2011)……………………………………94 CONCLUSION…......…………………………………………………………………..107 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………....113  !  iii!  List of Musical Examples Example 1 — Note durations in Sequenza I per flauto solo................................................ 18 Example 2 — Proportional notation in Sequenza I per flauto solo ..................................... 18 Example 3a — Sequenza I per flauto solo, 1958 version .................................................... 20 Example 3b — Sequenza I per flauto solo, 1992 version.................................................... 20 Example 4 — J.S. Bach: Partita in a minor, BWV 1013.................................................... 22 Example 5 — Sequenza I per flauto solo, opening statement ............................................. 23 Example 6 — Sequenza I per flauto solo, page 2, line 3 ..................................................... 24 Example 7 — Key slaps/lip pizzicatos in Sequenza I per flauto solo ................................. 24 Example 8 — Virtual polyphony in Sequenza I per flauto solo .......................................... 25 Example 9a — Sequenza I per flauto solo, page 4, line 7 ................................................... 26 Example 9b — Sequenza I per flauto solo, page 4, line 8 ................................................... 26 Example 10 — Multiphonics in Sequenza I per flauto solo ................................................ 27 Example 11 — Quarter tones and portamento in Mei ......................................................... 34 Example 12 — Mei, m. 24 ................................................................................................... 35 Example 13 — Grace notes in Mei ...................................................................................... 35 Example 14a — Key slaps in Mei........................................................................................ 36 Example 14b — Key slaps in Density 21.5 ......................................................................... 36 Example 15 — Opening of Ryoanji..................................................................................... 46 Example 16 — “Syrinx” quote in Idyll for the Misbegotten................................................ 52 Example 17 — Setup diagram for Idyll for the Misbegotten............................................... 55 Example 18 — Whistle tones in Idyll for the Misbegotten.................................................. 55 Example 19 — Opening of Yūrei......................................................................................... 73 Example 20 — Ascending and descending key noise in Yūrei ........................................... 75 Example 21 — Final lines of Yūrei...................................................................................... 76 Example 22 — Opening of earlier draft of Yūrei ................................................................ 78 Example 23 — Opening of Yūrei, final version .................................................................. 79 Example 24 — Yūrei, page 2, lines 5 – 7............................................................................. 80 Example 25 — Yūrei, page 3, lines 5 – 6............................................................................. 81 Example 26 — Alternate fingerings in limina..................................................................... 87 Example 27 — Harmonics in limina ................................................................................... 88 Example 28 — Whistle tones in limina ............................................................................... 89 Example 29 — Whistle tones in Vertical Song I by Toshio Hosokawa .............................. 90 Example 30 — Bass flute writing in limina......................................................................... 93 Example 31 — Bass flute harmonics in limina ................................................................... 93 Example 32 — “Bolero” quote in L................................................................................... 100 Example 33 — “Tango” section from L ............................................................................ 101 Example 34 — L, final two systems .................................................................................. 101  !  iv!  Acknowledgements  Heartfelt thanks go to the following people: To my teachers at the UBC School of Music, for their inspiration and insights: Martin Berinbaum, Dr. Sonja Boon, Camille Churchfield, Dr. Richard Kurth, Lorna McGhee, and Jesse Read. Special thanks to Dr. David Metzer: your input into the preparation of this document has been invaluable. To Robert Aitken, for a wonderful interview and for being such an important role model throughout my flute-playing career. To Karolina Piotrowska, for her excellent translations. To James Beckwith Maxwell, Dr. Jocelyn Morlock, and Dr. Jeffrey Ryan, for entrusting me with such beautiful music. To Vonn Parker, who continues to be an incredible source of encouragement and support. To my aunt and uncle, Shizu and Ron, for their love.  !  v!  For Mom.  !  vi!  Introduction  As a classically trained flutist I have performed music of many styles and periods, but my experiences playing the music of our time stand out as being among my career’s most thrilling highlights. Over the years these experiences have led to an interest in collaborating with composers in the creation of new pieces for my instrument. For composers this dialogue can ensure that their pieces are playable and idiomatic, while as performers we have the unique and rewarding opportunity to become directly involved in the creation of new works. Performer-composer collaboration is the primary reason why I find my career as a musician so vital and exciting, to the point where the commissioning and performance of new music has become something of a mission for me. Performer-composer collaboration can be understood as a dialogue in which the performer’s input shapes the final piece to some degree. This dialogue can reveal techniques, colours, and effects of which the composer may not have been aware. Moreover, the performer can help the composer avoid passages that contain unnecessary difficulties and offer more idiomatic alternatives. Some of these collaborations have been extraordinarily thorough and well documented. Elliot Carter’s discourse with flutist Robert Aitken in the creation of the solo flute piece Scrivo in Vento is an excellent example of in-depth performer-composer collaboration and is one that is often-cited because their correspondence took place through letters and faxes. However, more often than not the collaborative process is done face-to-face in a much more casual manner, without much thought of posterity. In cases such as these — the Italian flutist Severino Gazzelloni’s interactions with Luciano Berio and Kazuo Fukushima being prime  1  examples — the performer’s influence is often quite clear in the final product, but because there is no recorded documentation, some guesswork is often necessary when determining the extent of a performer’s involvement. My interaction with composers is a continuation of a long history of composerperformer collaboration. A famous instance is the pairing of Johannes Brahms and Joseph Joachim in the creation of the composer’s Violin Concerto, with the violinist going as far as recommending changes in orchestration and harmony.1 Following World War II, many composers took earlier modernist innovations much further, and the relationship between composer and performer became especially vital. American composers such as John Cage, Morton Feldman and Earle Brown owed much of their international recognition to their association with the pianist David Tudor. A virtuoso performer and a devoted advocate of new music, Tudor helped many composers explore a previously uncharted world of extended techniques for piano and realized a number of works featuring unorthodox notation and aleatoric procedures. It was during these experimental postwar years that the flute would enjoy a major resurgence in interest, eventually becoming one of the prime exponents of modernist idioms. The instrument’s ability to produce a large and diverse arsenal of sounds not only expanded its sonic canvas to hitherto uncharted territory but could also evoke the sound worlds of other musical cultures. What resulted was a prolific repertoire that rejected the notion of the flute as a vehicle for bucolic whimsy. An instrument that was virtually ignored in the 19th century (at least in a soloistic capacity) was now being embraced by key musical figures of the 20th century. With a handful of exceptions (most notably Brian 1  Boris Schwarz, “Joachim and the Genesis of Brahms’ Violin Concerto,” Musical Quarterly, 69, No. 4, 1983 : 509.  2  Ferneyhough, who was a flutist in his student years) the development of this repertoire was, and continues to be, the result of intimate collaborations between composer and performer. Many of these partnerships have been prolific: Salvatore Sciarrino has composed more than a dozen pieces for Roberto Fabbriciani and Mario Caroli; Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote extensively for the Dutch flutist Kathinka Pasveer; and Kaija Saariaho continues a fruitful relationship with the American flutist Camilla Hoitenga. In fact, it could be argued that all of these composers (excluding Stockhausen, who came upon Pasveer late in his career) owe much of their international reputations to an early compositional foundation that significantly featured works for solo flute. The strength of these pieces, from their employment of extended techniques to the graphic layouts of the scores, was largely due to dialogue with sympathetic and talented performers. This thesis will document the contributions of three flutists from different generations who have worked alongside composers in the creation of new works for their instrument and observe how the flutist-composer relationship has changed over the last sixty years. Chapter One will focus on the career of Severino Gazzelloni, who entered the international spotlight in the late 1950s as the premiere interpreter of avant-garde flute music during this time. He premiered works by Luciano Berio, Bruno Maderna, and Kazuo Fukushima and gave one of the first performances of Pierre Boulez’s Sonatine for flute and piano. Aside from short interviews in such journals as Flute Talk and The Instrumentalist, this chapter is the first in-depth, English-language study of the life of this unique and charismatic musician. Chapter Two examines the career of the Canadian flutist Robert Aitken. By the 1980s, Aitken had established an international reputation as a premiere interpreter of new  3  music. Aitken’s extensive experience as both a flutist and composer made him a keen and open-minded champion of new musical idioms. Moreover, his advocacy of commissioning new works for the flute has resulted in significant pieces from some of the most important musical figures of the second half of the 20th century, including George Crumb, Elliot Carter, John Cage, and R. Murray Schafer. But unlike Gazzelloni, Aitken’s advocacy goes beyond that of a performing musician. In 1971, he co-founded New Music Concerts, which remains the principal new music society in English-speaking Canada. Aitken continues to act as principal flutist, artistic director, and occasionally conductor of New Music Concerts, making him one of the country’s most versatile musicians and a unique exponent of contemporary art music. Chapter Three will address my own collaborations with composers and describe how these interactions compare to those of my predecessors — this should by no means be seen as an attempt to put myself on equal footing as Gazzelloni and Aitken! In the last ten years, I have premiered dozens of new works by Canadian and international composers and have established a national reputation as an effective interpreter of new music. A significant part of my contribution includes sharing my understanding of the flute’s sonic potential beyond conventional technique and sound production. My understanding of this extended sound world has greatly informed my work with composers, allowing them to compose for my instrument within expanded parameters. For this chapter, I will concentrate on three works: Yūrei (2010), for solo flute by Jeffrey Ryan; limina (2008) for flute, percussion and piano by James Beckwith Maxwell; and L (2011) for solo alto flute by Jocelyn Morlock. With all three of these pieces, I was actively involved during the early compositional stages and subsequent revisions. As the  4  three composers were already well versed in conventional flute writing, my contributions consisted mostly of explaining and demonstrating sonic phenomena outside of the traditional performance lexicon. In the case of Morlock’s L, various theatrical elements as well as broader issues of gender and sexuality were also explored. Taken as a whole, these three chapters provide insight into the rich and changing dialogue between contemporary flutists and composers. One significant development in this discourse is the growing administrative role that many flutists have incorporated into their careers. As artistic director of New Music Concerts, Aitken is arguably the most high-profile precedent in the expanding role of new music interpreter, but there are numerous and prominent examples throughout Canada and beyond: Jennifer Waring codirects Toronto’s Continuum Contemporary Music and, until recently, also acted as its principal flutist; Paolo Bortolussi acts as both flutist and director of Nu:BC in Vancouver; and Kathinka Pasveer balances her performance career with managing the Stockhausen Verlag in Kürten, Germany. On one level, these “side jobs” may seem trivial (indeed, some flutists would regard the shift towards administration as an admission of failure as a performer), but in my mind such career moves mark a broadening of the role of the modern performer who wishes to promote and perform contemporary music. It was to this end that I formed, with composer Jordan Nobles, the Redshift Music Society, a nonprofit organization that can apply for federal, provincial and civic funding and ensure the professional presentation of newly commissioned works. Given that the ultimate aim of any performer-composer collaboration is public performance, my role as co-artistic director of a new music society has played a vital part in my career.  5  This study makes use of a variety of source materials, including interviews, biographies, dissertations, sound recordings, published scores, and personal experience. Many of these sources are informed by an oral tradition that, while occasionally fallible and subjective, is an important vehicle by which the richness of our musical heritage is passed from generation to generation of performers. Often these “stories” will be paraphrased with each retelling, or even changed slightly in order to prove a point or to address a specific issue in a student’s lesson. As a result, inconsistencies occur and leaps must sometimes be made in order to arrive at useful conclusions. Nevertheless, the everevolving oral history of the classical music world remains an important and fascinating source of information, and much of this thesis is indebted to the anecdotes and insights of performers and composers.  6  Chapter 1 Severino Gazzelloni and the music of Berio and Fukushima ….there still exist some true virtuosos. They are exceptional instrumentalists: the Roman flautist, the Parisian clarinettist and others who have truly accomplished, by means of their performances of new music, new instrumental and musical effects. They are unknown, sure, but their value with respect to music is greater than that of their famous colleagues.2 In his interview with Robert Craft, Igor Stravinsky deplored the current state of classical music, which perpetuated the cult of the “false virtuoso” — “that performer who only plays the music of the 19th century, even when it is that of Bach and of Mozart.”3 However, he was quick to single out a handful of musicians who, in the composer’s mind, continued the tradition of exploring and expanding their instruments’ capabilities. The “Roman flautist” on the receiving end of Stravinsky’s praise was Severino Gazzelloni.4 Severino Gazzelloni was born in Roccasecca on 5 January 1919. His father was a tailor and an amateur euphonium player in the town band. Gazzelloni recalls his first encounter with the flute at a very young age: In the evening, I often helped my father in his work and one evening my father had arrived home with a radio — one of the first radios that were seen in the country. Cutting and sewing, we listened to a broadcast: Mozart’s Concerto in G major for flute and orchestra, with the Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Furtwangler. I instantly fell in love. The next morning I began my music studies.5  2  Gian-Luca Petrucci and Maurizio Benedetti, Severino Gazzelloni: Il flauto del Novecento, trans. Karolina Piotrowska (Napoli: Flavio Pagano Editore, 1993), 23 – 24. 3 Ibid. 4 The “Parisian clarinettist” is Guy Deplus. 5 Alessandra Vaccarone, Riflessi d’un flauto d’oro: Severino Gazzelloni e la letteratura flautistica contemporanea (1952-1980), trans. Karolina Piotrowska (Siena: Riverberi Sonore, 2002), 8.  7  At age seven, the young Severino began playing the flute and joined the community band shortly thereafter. In 1934, the Conservatory of St. Cecilia admitted the 15-year old Gazzelloni into the studio of Arigo Tassinari. In 1944, shortly following his graduation from the conservatory, Gazzelloni was appointed to the RAI Symphony Orchestra of Rome, where he remained as principal flute for three decades. During his time with the orchestra, Gazzelloni began his forays into the worlds of solo and chamber music. In 1947, he presented a flute and harp recital with Alberto Syrians at the Teatro Eliseo in Rome — a rare privilege for a flutist at the time.6 Part of his popularity was due to shrewd programming. Gazzelloni was a passionate advocate of many genres of music, and he had absolutely no issues programming works of jazz and pop alongside masterpieces of 18th- and 19th-century composers.7 The result, according to music critic Massimo Mila, was the birth of an instrumental pop star whose popularity in Italy was matched only by the American jazz giants: “No one — Armstrong and jazz aside — has reached the fame, which Stendhal would have defined as Napoleonic, and which can be compared to that of sports idols, which surrounded Gazzelloni: the only wind instrument virtuoso to mobilize a crowd of youth in pursuit of autographs, to trigger delirious enthusiasm, whatever it is he plays”.8 Gazzelloni, who maintained that “a sound was no less interesting because it belonged to a popular melody rather than to a symphony”, was as likely to be found performing in town squares and city streets as in Italy’s most exclusive concert halls. 9 He  6  Ibid. Ibid., 29. 8 Ibid. 9 Ibid. 7  8  also demonstrated a level of media savvy that was virtually unknown for a classical musician in the 1950s. Through the relatively new medium of television, he reached an untapped younger generation. His appearances on a number of Italian variety shows as well as collaborations with some of the most notable Italian pop singers of the 1950s and 1960s — including Rocky Roberts, Elena Sedlack and Milva — helped skyrocket his fame throughout Italy. His penchant for musical crossovers, however, was not loved by everyone. The flutist often met with objections from both concert presenters and fellow musicians. He recalled in an interview: “The concert society did not wish me to play in the backyard of their venue, because this resulted in a smaller number of patrons to subsequent concerts organized by them…. Many of my colleagues felt offended by what they defined as a ‘vulgarization’ of the music.”10 Likewise, he was heavily criticized by purists for his frequent television appearances, where he would perform “jazz versions” of standard flute repertoire. But Gazzelloni maintained that this was all part of his desire to spread the love of classical music: “Maybe I have devised a way to open a dialogue about the culture of music. I have played with the stars of song, have participated in the shows; TV has allowed me to bring music closer to those who would have otherwise never heard it.”11 Gazzelloni’s indiscriminate appetite for music also extended into the world of film. After the war he worked on soundtracks with the likes of Nino Rota and, more significantly, the Venetian composer Bruno Maderna. Maderna had moved to Rome in 1946, and worked with Gazzelloni on the score for the film Public Opinion. The 10 11  Ibid., 29 – 30. Ibid., 31.  9  importance of the professional and personal relationship that developed from this meeting cannot be overstated: in the following years, Maderna would compose prolifically for Gazzelloni, but most importantly he would launch the flutist’s career onto a new trajectory with his 1952 invitation to join him at the Ferienkurse für Neue Musik in Darmstadt. The Ferienkurse was founded in 1946 by musicologist Wolfgang Steinecke. The courses were initially intended as a means of reviving German creative musical life after World War II, and to provide a venue to perform and study much of the music that was suppressed over the past decade.12 By the 1950s Darmstadt had became the meeting ground for a whole new generation of European composers including Maderna, Luigi Nono, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez and Olivier Messiaen. It was in this arena that Gazzelloni came into contact with some of the brightest stars of the European avant-garde, and championed some of the most challenging contemporary scores of the day. Notable performances include that of Olivier Messiaen’s Le merle noir (1951) for flute and piano, which Gazzelloni played at the 1954 Ferienkurse. Messiaen had originally composed Le merle noir as a test-piece for the final exams at the Paris Conservatoire but was so taken with the Italian’s interpretation that he subsequently dedicated the work to him.13 The Sonatine for flute and piano (1946) by Pierre Boulez is another notable Gazzelloni triumph, although, like Le merle noir, it was not originally conceived for the Italian flutist. In fact, its genesis is one of the more infamous examples of composer-  12 13  Ibid., 15. Ibid., 21.  10  performer dialogues gone wrong. Written for the French flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal, the Sonatine was initially dismissed as unplayable. Rampal said of the score: As far as notation was concerned, the music was extremely difficult to decipher — and I’m a good sight-reader. There were no measure bars or any other helpful signs. I could sense that the work had a strong emotional appeal, but…. The idea of spending hours, perhaps even days, picking my way through a difficult modern work was sapping my spirit… without measure bars, the rests are difficult to follow and it is a real nuisance to play. I sent the music back, and again asked Boulez if he could make a cleaner — and clearer — copy. Perhaps this upset him, because time passed and I heard nothing further. I must admit that the piece slipped my mind too.14 The Sonatine eventually received its premiere in Brussels in 1947 by flutist Jan van Boterdael and pianist Marcelle Mercenier, but the performance was widely regarded as a failure. The piece remained untouched until 1956, when Gazzelloni presented it — in a revised state — in Darmstadt with the American pianist David Tudor. 15 Their performance was an unqualified success, and the Sonatine remains a respected cornerstone of the flute-piano repertoire. While these achievements alone would have ensured Gazzelloni a place on the roster of Darmstadt’s great performers, it was his ability to inspire new works for the flute that would become his lasting legacy. From 1955 to 1966 Gazzelloni was a mainstay of the Ferienkursen, and his technical prowess and onstage charisma inspired a number of compositions written especially for him. Many of these works received their premieres at Darmstadt; others were presented at the Festival Internazionale di Musica Contemporanea at the Venice Biennale, where, between 1961 and 1966, Gazzelloni  14  Jean-Pierre Rampal and Deborah Wise, Music, My Love (New York: Random House, 1989), 117 – 118. The 1954 published version of Boulez’s Sonatine contains numbered measures and extensive cues in both flute and piano parts. 15  11  presented an annual recital dedicated exclusively to new music for the flute. Over the course of his career, Gazzelloni had over 150 works dedicated to him. Among them: René Leibowitz: Sonata for flute and piano (1952) Sandor Jemnitz: Holzblasertrio for flute, oboe and clarinet (1958) Franco Evangelisti: Proporzioni for solo flute (1959) Roman Haubenstock-Ramati: Interpolation Mobile for one to three flutes (1959) Hans Ulrich Engelmann: Variazioni op. 20b for solo flute (1960) Gilbert Amy: Invention (1a and 1b) for flute, harp, piano and percussion (1961) Norma Beecroft: Tre pezzi brevi for flute and harp (1961) Bruno Maderna: Honeyrêves for flute and piano (1961) Renato De Grandis: Studi for flute and piano (1961) Boris Porena: Neumi for flute, marimba and vibraphone (1963) Yori-Aki Matsudaira: Rhymes for Gazzelloni for flute, percussion (performed by flutist), piano and tape (1965) Benno Anman: Successione for solo flute (1966) Paavo Heininen: Discantus for alto flute (1966) Tona Scherchen: In for solo flute (1966) Franco Donatoni: Puppenspiel 2 for flute and orchestra (1966) Roman Vlad: Il magico flauto di Severino for flute and piano (1971) A handful of these pieces go beyond mere dedication and border on a level of glorification that seems almost out of place in the esoteric arena of the contemporary music world. For example, the primary pitch material for Yori-Aki Matsudaira’s work, Rhymes for Gazzelloni, is dictated by the flutist’s name — G – A – (F-sharp – A-flat – F) E – (C-sharp – C-sharp – C – E-flat – D); Roman Vlad’s Il magico flauto di Severino contains the chanted words “How much strength is in your magic sound”; and Bruno Maderna’s numerous pieces dedicated to his friend and colleague include the work for flute and piano, Honeyrêves — essentially “Severino” spelled backwards.16 When discussing Gazzelloni’s legacy as a commissioner of new music, one cannot help but observe that the vast majority of these works have not been embraced by  16  Petrucci and Benedetti, 26.  12  the flute community at large. Any number of reasons can be cited, from obscure instrumentation to outdated tape/electronics components, but ultimately the bottom line cannot be ignored: some of these pieces are simply not very good. Alessandra Vaccarone, author of the Gazzelloni biography Riflessi d’un flauto d’oro, states that “many composers who set about writing for Gazzelloni were attracted to his indisputable notoriety”, and that a Gazzelloni premiere was a guarantee that a piece would be presented with dynamism and charisma — a treatment that it may or may not have necessarily deserved.17 Ever the performer, Gazzelloni often applied tremendous creative license to scores bereft of details. Vaccarone cites his performance of Boris Porena’s Neumi for flute, marimba and vibraphone as an example of a less-than-excellent piece given a possibly undeserved level of legitimacy through Gazzelloni’s interpretation. In Gazzelloni’s recording of the piece, a more-or-less static flute cadenza has been imbued with definition and interest by varying the dynamics and character between the neumes and their accompanying grace notes.18 Of the dozens of works that Gazzelloni commissioned and premiered, there are two that continue to be regularly performed by flutists around the world: Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958) by Luciano Berio and Mei for solo flute (1962) by Kazuo Fukushima. Each of these pieces carves out new territory for the instrument. In the case of the Berio, the exploration of the flute’s polyphonic capabilities were pushed to extremes; with the Fukushima, the marrying of Eastern and Western musical aesthetics opened up an entirely new sound world for the flute.  17 18  Vaccarone, 126. Ibid., 126 – 127.  13  Luciano Berio: Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958) Sequenza I has as its starting point a sequence of harmonic fields that generate, in the most strongly characterized ways, other musical functions… The codes governing the Baroque era allowed one to write a fugue in two parts for a solo flute. Nowadays, when writing for monodic instruments, the relationship between explicit and implicit, real and virtual polyphony has to be invented anew, and stands at the crux of musical creativity.19 The Italian composer Luciano Berio was born in Oneglia in 1925 to a musical family: his grandfather was an organist and composer of “first-rate kitsch” and his father was also a composer who had attended the Milan conservatory. 20 Family life included regular chamber music concerts, to which the young Berio contributed as both a violinist and pianist. At the age of nineteen he was drafted into the Italian army, where on his first day a defective gun exploded in his hand, sending him to the military hospital for three months, and effectively ending any aspirations to become a concert pianist. After the war Berio enrolled at the Milan conservatory, followed by a short period of study with Luigi Dallapiccola at Tanglewood. It was during this American sojourn that he came into contact with the music of Edgard Varèse as well as the electronic music of Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachewsky. Upon his return to Italy, Berio began his own early experiments with electronic music at RAI, Italy’s national radio and television company. It was here he came into contact with Bruno Maderna, who would become his lifelong friend, colleague and advisor. It was under Maderna’s recommendation that Berio attended the Darmstadt Ferienkurse, in either 1953 or 1954.21  19  Luciano Berio, Sequenzas, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Deutsche Grammophon, 457 038-2, 1998. From p. 10 of liner notes. 20 David Osmond-Smith, ed. and trans., Luciano Berio: Two Interviews with Rossana Dalmonte and Bálint András Vargas (London: Marion Boyars, 1981/85), 44. 21 Ian Knopke, “Form and Virtuosity in Luciano Berio’s Sequenza I” (M.A. diss., University of Alberta, 1997), 12.  14  Berio met Gazzelloni at Darmstadt and was clearly impressed with the virtuoso musician. Between 1957 and 1959, Berio had written no fewer than three pieces for the Roman flutist: Serenata I for flute and fourteen instruments, Tempi Concertati (1958 – 1959) for solo flute and four groups of instrumentalists, and the Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958) — without question his most celebrated work for the instrument. The Sequenza I per flauto solo was the first in a series of works for solo instruments, numbering fourteen in total (nineteen, if one includes the arrangements of various Sequenzas for other instruments), written throughout Berio’s career. The title, Sequenza (“Sequence”), implies a sequence of harmonic fields, from which these works generate their material. The resulting works explored harmonic discourse through essentially melodic writing and, “when dealing with monodic instruments (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone) [suggested] a polyphonic type of listening, based in part on the rapid transition between different characteristics, and their simultaneous iteration.” 22 The Sequenzas were also meant to explore the relationship between the performer and their instrument. The physical actions required to produce a sound (such as those in Sequenza III for voice and Sequenza V for trombone) are exploited, creating works of vocal and instrumental gestures that are as theatrical as they are musical. Another of Berio’s primary interests in writing the Sequenzas was the concept of virtuosity, though not on the familiar terms of 19th-century Romanticism: In the Sequenzas as a whole there are various unifying elements, some planned, others not. The most obvious and external one is virtuosity. I hold a great respect for virtuosity even if this word may provoke derisive smiles and even conjure up the picture of an elegant and rather diaphanous man with agile fingers and an empty head. Virtuosity often arises out of conflict, a tension between the musical 22  Luciano Berio, Sequenzas. From p. 8 of liner notes.  15  idea and the instrument, between concept and musical substance… Virtuosity can come to the fore when a concern for technique and stereotyped instrumental gestures gets the better of the idea, as in Paganini’s work… Another instance where tension arises is when the novelty and the complexity of musical thought — with its equally complex and diverse expressive dimensions — imposes changes in the relationship with the instrument, often necessitating a novel technical solution (as in Bach’s violin partitas, Beethoven’s last piano works, Debussy, Stravinsky, Boulez, Stockhausen, etc.)… Finally, as I’ve often emphasized, anyone worth calling a virtuoso these days has to be a musician capable of moving within a broad historical perspective and of resolving the tension between the creativity of yesterday and today. My own Sequenzas are always written with this sort of interpreter in mind, whose virtuosity is, above all else, a virtuosity of knowledge.23 Another creative parameter for Berio was his insistence that the instrument he was writing for not be modified in any way: “I have never tried to alter the nature of the instrument, nor try to use it ‘against’ its own nature. In fact, I have never been able to insert screws and rubbers between the strings of a piano, nor even to attach a contact microphone to a violin.”24 It would be only the natural parameters of the instrument that would dictate Berio’s handling of the instrument. In the case of the of the Sequenza I per flauto solo, it is a testament to the inventiveness of both composer and flutist that enough “naturally occurring” material was mined to create a piece that pushed the boundaries of what had hitherto been written for the instrument. There are no documents addressing Gazzelloni’s specific contributions to the creation of Sequenza I per flauto solo, but his presence can be felt throughout, from the generally extroverted nature of the flute writing to more subtle effects that are entirely idiomatic. For these latter techniques, which include multiphonics and deftly crafted instances of implied polyphony, there can be little doubt that they were written under the  23 24  Quoted in Osmond-Smith, 90 – 91. Ibid., 92.  16  flutist’s guidance. Berio stated that he tailored the Sequenza to Gazzelloni “as a tailor makes a dress for a beautiful woman”25. This tailoring manifests itself in two primary ways: notation and the exploration of polyphony. Many of Sequenza’s polyphonic techniques would revolutionize the use of the flute in the contemporary literature, while the proportional notation would inspire a method of writing that continues to be used to this day — and one that, interestingly enough, Berio would eventually denounce, resulting in a second version of the Sequenza, published in 1992.  Notation While commonplace today, the proportional notation in the 1958 version of Sequenza I per flauto solo was a major innovation for the time. While having precedent in John Cage’s Music of Changes (1952), the Sequenza for flute remains perhaps the most cited example of proportional notation.26 Instead of the traditional system of barlines and measures, a tempo of quarter note = 70 is determined by a series of vertical slashes attached to the fifth line of the stave. The spatial distribution of the notes determines the rhythm and the length of the rests. In his article, “Aspects of the Flute in the Twentieth Century”, Pierre-Yves Artaud delineates the graphic representations for the three primary note durations:27  25  Petrucci and Benedetti, 63. Cynthia Folio and Alexander R. Brinkman, “Rhythm and Timing in the Two Versions of Berio’s Sequenza I for Flute Solo: Psychological and Musical Differences in Performance” in Berio’s Sequenzas: Essays on Performance, Composition and Analysis, ed. Janet Halfyard (Hampshire/Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2007), 13. 27 Pierre-Yves Artaud, “Aspects of the Flute in the Twentieth Century,” Contemporary Music Review 8 (1994) : 151. 26  17  very short duration  duration proportional to length of beam  aleatoric duration Example 1 — Note durations in Sequenza I per flauto solo. When faithfully observed, the proportional spacing from one note to the next can create the illusion of highly complex rhythms, while allowing for a basic level of individual flexibility with regard to duration and phrasing. This system also has the added benefit of avoiding any metric groupings or pulse that could arise from the use of conventional time signatures.  Example 2 — Proportional notation in Sequenza I per flauto solo (page 5, line 4). © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission.  18  At a glance, the use of proportional notation would appear to have little to do with Gazzelloni’s input. Indeed, the notation was not created at the advice of the flutist, but rather was the solution to a problem. In an interview with Benedict Weisser, Berio later admitted: “Usually, I’m not concerned with notation itself. When I’m concerned, that means there’s a problem… And that pushes me to find solutions that maybe I was never pushed to find before.”28 The problem was, as Weisser elaborated, that Berio’s original conception of the flute Sequenza was too difficult to play: “[Berio] originally wrote it in exceptionally fine detail (almost like Ferneyhough in the original form), but Gazzelloni could not handle it, so Berio decided to use proportional notation.”29 But Berio would become dissatisfied with performances of this work, feeling that the graphic presentation was misinterpreted by some performers as permission to take wild liberties with phrasing and rubato. In 1966, the composer stated in an often quoted letter to the Swiss flutist Aurèle Nicolet: On the topic of Sequenza, before everything, I thank you for your recording which is very virtuoissimo and truly amazing. But permit to me to make a few observations. This piece has already been recorded various times but, unfortunately, always in a rather imprecise fashion. This time, when I have the fortune of being able to intervene before the disk is printed, and have the privilege of having a recording done by an artist like you, I do not want to miss the occasion of having a performance which could serve as a model for other performers. In your recording, there is a misunderstanding regarding the proportions between the times and the speeds. It is not a question of a more or less rapid tempo: once the tempo has been chosen, the proportions of the durations. One must therefore select a tempo (I have indicated a MM 70, which can be interpreted in a reasonably flexible way) which permits one to respect these proportions of duration. It is true that these proportions, given the type of notation adopted, will always be somewhat approximate. But I have chosen this proportional notation only to 28 29  Quoted in Folio and Brinkman, “Rhythm and Timing,” 12. Ibid., 12.  19  permit a certain adaptability, on the part of the performer, in the extremely dense and rapid passages. Each flutist may therefore choose their own pace — within certain limits — provided that they maintain the indicated proportions.30 Further performances by other flutists would unleash a less tactful reaction from the Italian composer, proclaiming them “little short of piratical.”31 Berio’s frustration with the Sequenza’s notation (and the results it produced) finally resulted in a new version of the piece, published in 1992. This version presents the Sequenza in strict rhythmic notation: note lengths and fermatas are specifically dictated, ensuring (at least in theory) more consistent performances.  Example 3a — Sequenza I per flauto solo, 1958 version, mm. 1 – 4. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission.  Example 3b — Sequenza I per flauto solo, 1992 version, mm. 1 – 4.  30 31  Quoted in Petrucci and Benedetti, 65 – 66. Osmond-Smith, 99.  20  Though the 1992 edition of the Sequenza is commonly referred to as the “new” version, it does in fact more closely resemble how Berio initially envisioned of the piece when writing it in 1958. The 1992 version was the combined work of Berio and his assistant, Paul Roberts, who gave a fascinating account of its genesis in an interview with Cynthia Folio and Alexander Brinkman: The truth is that Berio originally composed the flute Sequenza in standard notation back in 1958. It was written using very strict serial rhythms, and was barred in 2/8 from start to end… (It would be no surprise to learn that Gazzelloni actually gave the first performance in Darmstadt from this original.) This is the moment when proportional notation was “born” because Berio rightly felt that the original notation was too awkward. He therefore proceeded to transform this Sequenza visually into the version that we all now know. Unfortunately, over the years, he became increasingly disappointed with how flute players approached this notation which is my no means as free as it seems… Berio asked me to process the original version on the computer (I worked from his personal original transparencies). With this in hand he “corrected” his own notation, smoothing the original rhythms down. In a sense, he did in 1991 what he perhaps should have done back in 1958. There is no question that I began from a renotated version. The Suvini Zerboni publication is in reality a renotated version of the original.32 This is not to say that the 1958 version is a “dumbed down” version for Gazzelloni — the composer’s affectionate dedication “a Serveri” on the first page of the score is a clear indication of his appreciation and respect for the flutist. Berio was interested in Gazzelloni’s strengths as a charismatic performer, and had shrewdly decided to notate the piece in a way that would ignite the flutist’s virtuosity rather than stifle it with an inundation of rhythmic information. It must be remembered that, as of 1958, there existed in the flute repertoire nothing as rhythmically complex as the 1992 version of the Sequenza I per flauto solo — and it is safe to say that practically any flute player at the time would have been baffled if presented with it. It was only after the emergence of 32  Folio and Brinkman, “Rhythm and Timing,” 15 – 16.  21  more complexly notated pieces (such as Brian Ferneyhough’s Cassandra’s Dream Song (1970) and Unity Capsule (1976)) that Berio felt there was enough precedent to release a version of the Sequenza that was more in keeping with his original vision.  Polyphony One of the primary aims of the Sequenza series was the exploration of the polyphonic potential of traditionally monodic instruments. In a 1981 interview with Rossana Dalmonte, Berio states: When I started the [Sequenza] series, back in 1958, I wasn’t using the term “polyphonic” in any metaphorical sense, as I would now when working with monodic instruments, but literally… The ideal was the “polyphonic” melodies of Bach. An inaccessible ideal, naturally, because what implicitly guided polyphonic listening in a Bach melody was nothing less than the history of Baroque musical language, whereas in a “non-linguistic” melody like my Sequenza for flute, history provided no protection, and everything had to be planned out explicitly.33 When observing the Sequenza I per flauto solo with these comments in mind, an obvious comparison is the Partita in a minor, BWV 1013 by Johann Sebastian Bach. The opening Allemande is perhaps the most famous example of implied polyphony in the flute’s repertoire:  Example 4 — J.S. Bach: Allemande from Partita in a minor, BWV 1013, mm 1 – 4.  33  Quoted in Osmond-Smith, 97.  22  The interspersing of “bass notes” throughout the soprano melody not only articulates the harmonic changes but also establishes a polyphonic dialogue between two voices. The near-simultaneous statement of both bass and treble parts in a single flute line is one of the defining characteristics (and one of the most technically demanding aspects) of the Partita’s Allemande. Sequenza I per flauto solo employs a similar method of creating implied polyphony, although not one that is governed by any parameters of conventional harmony. Like Bach’s Allemande, the juxtaposition of disparate registers is perhaps the most immediately recognizable feature of the Sequenza, although Berio pushes interregister dialogue to new extremes by employing wide, angular leaps and suddenly contrasting dynamics. The very opening quickly alternates between three distinct registers:  Example 5 — Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version), opening statement. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. In later passages, there is a reduction of event density, although notes now alternate between extreme dynamic ranges:  23  Example 6 — Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version), page 2, Line 3. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. The rapid variation in dynamics is a subtle yet effective means of producing an implied counterpoint through a monodic instrument, reinforcing the illusion of an exchange between two or more timbrally distinct contrapuntal threads. The implied dialogue is even more apparent in a later section that alternates between flutter-tongued passages and percussive, key-slapped notes. In 1998 flutist Sophie Cherrier recorded the Sequenza I per flauto solo as part of the complete Sequenza series by Deutsche Grammophon and further highlights this dialogue of timbres by performing the key-slapped notes as lip pizzicatos, a percussive effect produced by an exaggerated “T” or “P” attack without any subsequent breath pressure.34  Example 7 — Key-slaps/lip pizzicatos alternating with flutter tongued notes in Sequenza I per flauto solo (1992 version), page 3, line 9. Key-slaps/lip pizzicatos are marked with crosses beneath the note heads.  34  Luciano Berio, Sequenzas. Recorded under the auspices of the composer.  24  But the Sequenza’s most outstanding example of virtual polyphony — and one that clearly suggests Gazzelloni’s input — occurs on P. 4 of the score (P. 3 of the 1992 edition). Here, sharply articulated second-octave notes marked “sf” punctuate a series of dyad tremolos:  Example 8 — Virtual polyphony in Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version). © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. Gazzelloni’s contributions can be detected throughout this section. Tremolos over the first octave/second octave break tend to be extremely awkward on the flute, but all three of these tremolos are easily executed by use of the right hand trill keys — a fact that would not be commonly known to composers who do not play the flute. In addition to this, the second-octave “punctuating” notes are all fingered with the left hand only, leaving the right hand free to operate the trill keys. It seems highly unlikely that the success of this section was the result of sheer luck; Berio’s ability to deftly avoid the pitfalls that could potentially plague writing like this suggests a thorough dialogue with Gazzelloni. These examples of virtual polyphony notwithstanding, the most striking aspects of Berio’s flute Sequenza are his genuine attempts at polyphony — the first to ever occur  25  in the flute literature. It is here that his interaction with Gazzelloni would have proven to be indispensible. In Sequenza I per flauto solo there are two polyphonic events, both occurring toward the end of the piece. The first immediately follows the aforementioned flutter-tongued/key-slap dialogue. The flutter-tongued passagework gradually becomes more and more intervallically narrow, resolving into a minor 2nd trill between F4 and Gflat4:  Example 9a — Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version), page 4, line 7. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. As this trill diminuendos, the key action involved in this becomes louder and more percussive, to the point of “il possibile”:  Example 9b — Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version), page 4, line 8. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. The polyphony is subtle but unquestionable. As the trill morphs into percussive key noise, there is a definite period when the two effects are coexisting as separate entities. The highly idiomatic nature of this passage was most likely the result of consultation with  26  Gazzelloni. In particular, there are two technical aspects to consider that make this section a likely beneficiary of flutist-composer collaboration:  1. The physical action to create the key noise is the same action required to execute the trill; 2. The finger used to execute both effects is the right hand index finger — the strongest finger, and thus the best suited for executing percussive key noise. Gazzelloni’s influence is again detectable in the following section. A harmonic trill (fingered fundamentals C4 and D4, producing the harmonics C6 and D6) segues into one of the most arresting passages of the piece, not to mention one of the most revolutionary moments in 20th-century flute writing: split harmonics G5 and C6 over a C4 fundamental, resolving to split harmonics A-flat5 and D-flat6 over a D-flat4 fundamental.  Example 10 — Multiphonics in Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958 version). © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. This is, according to Pierre-Yves Artaud among many others, the first instance of multiphonic writing for the flute: “For the first time… two multiphonic sounds obtained by the fingerings for the low C and D-flat appear, and these enable, not without some  27  degree of difficulty, the third and fourth partials to sound together.”35 Once again, such unique writing seems unlikely to have ever occurred without interlocution between composer and flutist. While the ability to create the harmonic series on the flute would certainly have been known to Berio, his choice of fundamentals — the two lowest notes on the instrument —are ideally suited for multiphonics. Lower fundamentals typically produce a larger number of partials. As well, third and fourth partials produced by lower fundamentals (such as those employed in Sequenza I per flauto solo) tend to be more stable, and thus easier to manipulate, than those produced by higher fundamentals. It seems likely that Berio received direction from Gazzelloni as to which harmonics begat the richest possibilities for multiphonics. While fairly commonplace today, the occurrence of harmonics in the flute repertoire was a rarity in the 1950s, and Berio would certainly have benefited from Gazzelloni’s insights. While there exists no record of the interaction between Berio and Gazzelloni, the composer always affectionately maintained that he “composed this piece and tailored it to Severino Gazzelloni… and it needs saying that writing for Severino is quite stimulating!”36 Beyond the charisma and élan that defined Gazzelloni’s performances and inspired so many composers in the 1950s and 1960s, there is enough evidence to conclude that the flutist aided Berio with specific compositional decisions and helped him to create a piece that remains one of the most idiomatic and frequently performed works of the 20th-century flute repertoire. This collaboration would certainly have a tremendous impact on future generations of compositions for solo flute, but it would also have even more far-reaching ramifications. In the 1950s, Berio was very much identified with the 35 36  Artaud, “Aspects of the Flute” : 153. Petrucci and Benedetti, 63.  28  total integral serialists such as Boulez and Stockhausen (a position that would, admittedly, change in later years), but the proportional notation of Sequenza I has its origins in the piano scores of John Cage: a champion of “chance music” and, along with American colleagues Morton Feldman and Earle Brown, an outspoken opponent of serialism. These two opposing factions became unlikely bedfellows with the 1958 creation of Sequenza I per flauto solo, which married compositional rigour with the relative freedom of proportional notation — a freedom that, in Berio’s mind, was grossly abused and would eventually necessitate the rhythmically stricter version of 1992.  Kazuo Fukushima: Mei for solo flute (1962) Kazuo Fukushima was born in Tokyo in 1930. His childhood was turbulent to say the least. His father, two brothers and many friends were among the casualties of the Second World War, and as a result, death pervaded his thoughts as a child: From age thirteen to fifteen, which was the time that the war was about to end, “death” prevailed in my surroundings. Too many young people who were close to me were sacrificed, including two of my older brothers, and many friends… My family members decreased from seven to four. I was very young at that time. It was a miracle that I, as a non-military member, could survive. Perhaps this is the reason that the style of my compositions was very much like a tune of chinkon [literally, “to calm the restless souls”] when I started composing.37 Fukushima was essentially self-taught as a composer. After the war, he would meet with composers Toru Takemitsu and Hiroyoshi Suzuki and study scores of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus, and other works by Western composers to which they had been exposed by way of American military radio. In 1951, 37  Chung-Lin Lee, “Analysis and Interpretation of Kazuo Fukushima’s Solo Flute Music” (D.M.A. diss., University of Washington, 2010), 5.  29  Takemitsu and Suzuki, along with poet Shuzo Takiguchi, became founding members of the Jikken Kobo (“Experimental Workshop”), an interdisciplinary collective that included writers, painters, printmakers, a lighting designer and even a mechanical engineer. Fukushima, along with his sister Hideko, a painter, joined the group in 1953. Fukushima would only stay a brief time with the Jikken Kobo, though he remained in touch with its members and continued to attend presentations. He began experimenting with the twelve-tone technique, resulting in his earliest composition for flute, Requiem (1956). From this point forward, the flute would become one of the dominant voices in Fukushima’s oeuvre. Ekagra for alto flute and piano would follow in 1958 after an inspirational encounter with the score of Boulez’s Le marteau sans maître. The creation of Ekagra, meaning “concentration” in Sanskrit, marked a turning point in the career of the young composer. It won an honourable mention at the Second International Festival for Contemporary Music in Karuizawa, and perhaps more significantly, it was selected by Igor Stravinsky to be performed at the California Chamber Music Society, beating out a submission by Fukushima’s countryman, Takemitsu. Ekagra was performed on 4 April 1960 in Los Angeles, alongside works by Arthur Berger, Ernst Krenek, Milton Babbit and Alban Berg. After the concert, conductor Robert Craft, who was present, wrote “Fukushima’s piece was a lot better than everything except the Berg (in my opinion).”38 Fukushima’s success at this concert essentially launched his career as a composer, garnering him invitations to festivals in Vienna, Donaueschingen and London.  38  Ibid., 12.  30  Fukushima’s first encounter with Gazzelloni came about in April 1961, when the Italian was touring Japan with an ensemble comprised of performers from Darmstadt. Fukushima presented Gazzelloni with the scores for three of his works: Requiem, Ekagra, and Three Pieces from Chu-u for flute and piano (1958). Gazzelloni was impressed with Fukushima’s music and became one of his greatest advocates. In addition to performing the three works throughout Europe, he later requested that Fukushima arrange another of his works, Kadha Karuna (Sanskrit for “Poem of Compassion”, written in 1959) originally for two flutes, piano, and O-Tzusumi (Japanese drum), for flute and piano. Only a few months following Fukushima’s fortuitous meeting with Gazzelloni, the Japanese composer was invited by Wolfgang Steinecke to present a lecture in Darmstadt in 1961. The subject of Fukushima’s lecture, “Noh Drama and Japanese Music”, reveals a fundamental interest in the traditional music of his homeland — in fact, it was perhaps in his capacity as a Japanese music historian that Fukushima has made his most widely recognized contributions, subsequently being appointed to the faculty of Ueno Gakuen College Tokyo in 1964, and becoming its Director of Research Archives for Japanese Music in 1970. During his Darmstadt lecture, Fukushima discussed the role of Zen principles in Japanese music, particularly in that of Noh: As a whole the presentation of Noh art embodies a particular philosophy strongly influenced by Zen thought. Some critiques of the literature stress descriptions of the specifics of Buddhist thought in Noh art… but in my opinion it would be better not to look for the fundamental philosophy of Noh art in details such as these but rather in the entire complex of Noh practice, in which music, word, movement, indeed everything on stage becomes one…. Time ought not to be conceived of as an unbroken stream but rather as a series of separate and consecutive moments of full inner life and elevated consciousness. The moment is in and of itself absolute, although it is born out of the intermingling of all moments, like bright flashes woven into an enormous web of light. One must approach each person, each note, each scene with sensibilities newly born, the sensory appreciation of the moment, creating a universe in each single moment….  31  Some contemporary composers have recognized the great significance of Noh music; this could lead to new approaches to composition. In our work we have endeavoured to live in the spirit of the art of Noh and, inspired by the unique structure of its music, to develop methods of our own.39 Later in 1961 Steinecke was killed in a traffic accident. By the time Fukushima learned of Steinecke’s death, he had already been commissioned by Gazzelloni for a new work, to be premiered in Venice the following year. The combination of these events led Fukushima to respond with a special tribute to Steinecke’s life and accomplishments, as well as what would become one of the great standard works of the 20th-century flute repertoire: Mei for solo flute (1962). Gazzelloni gave the premiere performance at the Venice Biennale in April 1962, afterwhich Fukushima was approached by the Milanese firm Suvini Zerboni to have his flute works published. Gazzelloni performed Mei again later that summer in Darmstadt at a memorial concert in Steinecke’s honour, where it was enthusiastically received.40 Mei takes its title from the Chinese character  , meaning obscure, pallid,  intangible. In his dissertation “Analysis and Interpretation of Kazuo Fukushima’s Solo Flute Music”, Chung-Lin Lee states that this same symbol “can also indicate the world of death as it is understood in traditional Chinese cosmology.”41 In addition to this, Fukushima states that “according to ancient Japanese belief, the sound of the flute had the power to communicate with the dead”42 and that “the sound of the flute can reach both this world and that world, hovering between the two worlds… this piece is just like its  39  Kazuo Fukushima, Works for Flute and Piano, Eberhard Blum and Stefen Schleiermacher, Hat Hut Records, hat ART CD 6114, 1992. Liner notes by Ann Holyoke Lehmann. 40 Lee, “Analysis and Interpretation,” 30. 41 Ibid., 81. 42 Kazuo Fukushima, Mei per flauto solo (Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, 1966), notes to the score.  32  title, Mei: dim, far, receding, calmly meditating upon the unconsciousness of the Universe.”43 As one might infer from his lecture at Darmstadt, Fukushima’s music was very much inspired by Japanese Noh and the Zen principles it embraced. In an interview with Mihoko Watanabe, Fukushima stated that much of Mei was specifically influenced by the sound and performance techniques of the nohkan, the transverse flute of the Japanese Noh Theatre.44 The abundant use of quarter tones, overblowing and grace note attacks are all standard nohkan performance techniques, while the use of key clicks cunningly evokes the percussion instruments associated with Noh. Finally, Fukushima’s use of silence creates tremendous dramatic tension through the Zen concept of ma.  Quarter Tones Pierre-Yves Artaud maintains that the use of quarter tones in Mei should not be seen as a “desire to extend the system of twelve semitones” but as a means of increasing “the tension of a phrase and to confer the vocal dimension of the work to a far greater degree.”45 Furthermore, the use of quarter tones effectively evokes the non-Western scale of the nohkan flute, which “has neither a definite scale nor definite tonal relationships among its individual pitches.”46 In fact, according to Watanabe, the nohkan flute is deliberately constructed with the insertion of a bamboo pipe between the mouth hole and  43  Lee, “Analysis and Interpretation,” 64 – 65. Mihoko Watanabe, “The Essence of Mei: An Exploration of the Inspiration behind Mei through Interviews with the Composer,” The Flutist Quarterly, 33/3 (2008) : 19. A common misconception is that Mei was inspired the shakuhachi, an instrument made popular with western audiences through Toru Takemitsu’s November Steps for Shakuhachi, Biwa and Orchestra (1967). 45 Artaud, “Aspects of the Flute” : 156. 46 Watanabe, “The Essence of Mei” : 20. 44  33  the first finger hole in order to upset the normal acoustic properties. This effect is recreated in Mei with the use of quarter tones and portamenti.  Example 11 — Quarter tones and portamento in Mei, mm. 9 – 12. Quarter tones are delineated by vertical arrows; the portamento by an ascending diagonal line. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. Overblowing and Grace Notes Throughout Mei there are dramatic leaps of a seventh — a familiar gesture in much non-tonal music. This is, in fact, also a naturally occurring phenomenon on the nohkan: while many flutes overblow at the octave, the nohkan overblows flat, with the degree of flatness varying from fingering to fingering. Thus, intervals of around a seventh are commonplace in the flute music of Noh. Fukushima recreates this effect at key dramatic points in Mei, often taking advantage of the highest notes on the flute. Fukushima likened these extreme notes — B6, C7, D7 — to the shrill timbre of the hishigi range of the nohkan:47  47  Ibid., 20.  34  Example 12 — Mei, m. 24. The interval of a seventh evokes the overblowing technique of the nohkan. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. The unorthodox use of grace notes in Mei — frequently spanning an interval of a seventh or ninth — can be seen as an extension of the overblowing effect, evoking the violent air attacks on the nohkan. Fukushima often accentuates these grace notes with accented attacks, making it clear that an unobtrusive, “Western style” grace note is not what he has in mind:  Example 13 — Grace notes in Mei, m. 38. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission. Percussive Effects The appearance of key-slaps at M. 36 of Mei immediately recalls the same, revolutionary effect in Edgard Varèse’s solo flute piece Density 21.5 — even the initial rhythm and dynamic are the same.  35  Example 14a — Key slaps in Mei, m. 36. © Copyright Sugarmusic S.p.A. – Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, Milan (Italy). Reproduced by permission.  Example 14b — Key slaps in Density 21.5, mm. 24 – 25. Interestingly enough, the percussive effects in Mei are not at all a tribute to Varèse but rather are meant to imitate the tzuzumi drum of Noh theatre. The effect is intensified by Watanabe’s suggestion of performing these notes without an air stream, reducing them to pure, pitched percussive noise.48 Pierre-Yves Artaud, convinced that this section did indeed pay homage to Varèse, confronted Fukushima and recalls this amusing anecdote: At this precise moment how can one avoid recalling Density 21.5? When I put the question to Fukushima in August 1989, he replied in a very interesting way, declaring to my great surprise that, in 1962, he had never heard Varèse’s piece. He added that, by contrast, the famous inverted chromaticism, an undisputed characteristic of 70% of the flute repertoire, was in fact a traditional melodic figure of the Noh flute (as indeed are the long, sustained, high notes such as those which occur at the end of Density, or in the coda of the central section of Mei). He concluded by affirming that he had assumed this legacy completely, and added  48  Ibid., 21.  36  mischievously that perhaps I ought to reverse my initial comment and consider whether Varèse might have been influenced by Noh theatre!49 Silence Silence forms an integral part of Fukushima’s music. It manifests itself within Mei primarily through two fermatas: a quarter rest fermata in M. 15, and a half rest fermata at M. 51. Structurally, the fermatas serve to delineate Mei’s ABA form, but musically they create a “perceptual silence” that serves the dramatic arc of the piece. 50 The fermatas allow for a degree of intuitive interpretation, and can be adjusted to suit a particular performance or environment. Watanabe states that the Japanese concept of silence in music has less to do with counting rests, and more to do with creating ma, the expressive silence between musical gestures: “Westerners usually consider ma to be emptiness, a space to be carefully measured or counted, whereas the Japanese know it as a keen, intuitive awareness containing some tension — a perceptual silence.”51 Therefore, one can interpret the quarter rest silence at M. 15 — which immediately precedes the Piu mosso — as ma, full of explosive tension. Meanwhile, the fermata rest in M. 51, marked “lunga”, is ma full of calming energy, before the opening material is recapitulated. Ma is also present as the silent energy that precedes and follows the beginning and ending of every piece, serving to prepare the listener for their musical journey and allowing for reflection and contemplation after the final note has sounded.  49  Artaud, “Aspects of the Flute” : 158. Watanabe, “The Essence of Mei” :18. 51 Ibid. 50  37  Gazzelloni and Fukushima As in the case with Berio’s Sequenza I per flauto solo, there exists no recorded correspondence between Gazzelloni and Fukushima during the creation of Mei. But the flutist’s influence, as well as the composer’s obvious appreciation, was more than evident. In an interview, Fukushima stated: It is delightful for a composer to have a great performer around. Gazzelloni is a great flute player. He was eager to offer his opinions and suggestions. Every time I wrote a new piece, he found opportunities to perform it and take it as his own. Gazzelloni’s performance of Boulez’s Sonatine for flute and piano also inspired me. If it were not for him, I wouldn’t have written so many flute works.52 These “opinions and suggestions” manifest themselves clearly in Mei. Prior to its creation, Fukushima’s flute works were relatively non-experimental: Ekagra is conventionally written throughout; Requiem contains a handful of harmonics; and Three Pieces from Chu-u contains a single instance of pitch-bending in the first movement. For Fukushima, Mei announces a deeper sojourn into some of the instrument’s more unorthodox timbres as well as a more integrated synthesis of Eastern and Western sound worlds than in previous pieces — a synthesis that was encouraged and guided by Gazzelloni’s input. Artaud notes that in Mei, the “synthesis was not a naïve imitation, a type of ‘neo-colonialist’ mimicry, but a true integration of two types of material, the alchemy of which created a new means of expression which proved indispensible to the development of the repertoire of the instrument.”53 This is no hyperbole on Artaud’s part: Mei predates (and continues to hold its own against) solo flute works by Takemitsu, Yoshihisa Taira, Toshio Hosokawa and Isang Yun — contributions which form the 52 53  Lee, “Analysis and Interpretation,” 15. Artaud, “Aspects of the Flute” : 158.  38  foundation of an entire genre of flute music that marries Eastern and Western music aesthetics. For his part, Gazzelloni recognized Mei as being a vitally important addition to the repertoire, performing it frequently and eventually recording it. He also encouraged Fukushima to use Mei as a starting point for a larger work. Fukushima obliged, creating the three-movement flute concerto, Hi-kyo, of which Mei forms the central part. Here again, Gazzelloni demonstrated his ability to influence the composers he worked with: before the premiere of Hi-kyo, Gazzelloni wrote Fukushima, suggesting that the opening of Mei be omitted in order to create a better sense of overall balance. As a result, Fukushima removed the first fifteen measures of Mei for the concerto performance.54 Both Sequenza I per flauto solo and Mei are not only testaments to the originality of their respective composers but also to Gazzelloni’s ability to assist the compositional process of two distinctly individual composers. Both works are equally groundbreaking, yet wildly different. In several cases, the two adopt similar techniques (such as key slaps and harmonics) but use them to reinforce entirely different musical aims: for Berio, the creation of polyphony through a monodic instrument was at the core of his efforts with Sequenza I; for Fukushima, the same effects were used instead to evoke the performance practices of the nohkan. That two such radically different works could be inspired by the same musician is evidence of the diversity of Gazzelloni’s artistry as well as his deep respect for a composer’s vision and a sincere desire to help them realize his or her individual voice.  54  Lee, “Analysis and Interpretation,” 65. Interestingly enough, the published version of Hi-Kyo contains Mei in its entirety as the second movement.  39  Chapter 2 Robert Aitken and the music of Cage, Crumb, and Carter  In January 1965, the young Canadian flutist Robert Aitken arrived in Rome to study with Gazzelloni. Armed with significant funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, he stayed until the spring, learning “every contemporary piece that existed up until that time.”55 The months there were productive, with Aitken absorbing the senior musician’s insights into new works by Boulez, Berio, Evangelista and Maderna. These lessons would launch Aitken — whose training until that point had been predominantly orchestral — onto a new professional trajectory and provide the foundation for an international career that would be dedicated to the promotion of new music. Robert Aitken was born in 1939 in Kentville, Nova Scotia but moved to Pennsylvania as a young child. He returned to Canada as a teenager, studying flute with Nicholas Fiore at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto. At the age of nineteen, he was appointed principal flute of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra — the youngest principal in the orchestra’s history. During this time, he studied composition with Barbara Pentland at the University of British Columbia (though Aitken maintains that his lessons had focused more on the counterpoint of Palestrina than composition). After two years, Aitken relinquished his post with the Symphony and returned to Toronto for further music studies. In Toronto, he continued to demonstrate prodigious talent in a number of areas: while studying musicology and composition at the University of Toronto, Aitken  55  Robert Aitken, phone interview by author, digital recording, Toronto, 28 December, 2009.  40  was also performing as a member of both the Toronto Symphony orchestra and the CBC Symphony Orchestra. Aitken’s first in-depth experience with the music of the European avant-garde came in 1962 with an invitation to perform on a Toronto series called “Men, Minds and Music” curated by Udo Kasemets. The flutist recounts how Kasemets had presented him with a copy of the score for Berio’s Sequenza I per flauto solo (at a time when “photocopies were hard to come by”).56 This was Aitken’s first experience with unorthodox forms of music notation, confessing he “had never seen anything like that in my life.”57 His contact with this work — the performance of which was most likely the first in North America — would make a deep impression on him as both a flutist and a composer.58 After his yearlong European sojourn (which, in addition to Gazzelloni, included studies with Jean-Pierre Rampal in Paris, André Jaunet in Zurich, and Hubert Barwähser in Amsterdam), Aitken returned to Toronto.59 Following a couple years as director of the “Music Today” series at the Shaw Festival, he received a call from Hugh Davidson of the Canada Council for the Arts. The Council had recently given the go-ahead to the Société de Musique Contemporain du Québec, and Davidson felt there should be a new music organization representing Anglophone Canada as well.60 Offering Aitken $30,000 outright, Davidson asked the flutist to initiate the new society. The result was the establishment of New Music Concerts in 1971, which Aitken co-founded with composer 56  Ibid. Aitken was referring to the first edition of Berio’s Sequenza I per flauto solo of 1958. 58 Aitken, phone interview. 59 His return to Toronto was immediately preceded by a year of teaching for R. Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, BC. 60 Aitken, phone interview. 57  41  Norma Beecroft. Beecroft stepped down in 1989, but Aitken has continued to act as director, conductor and flutist. New Music Concerts remains one of Canada’s most important presenters of Canadian and international new music. It was interesting to learn that, outside of the flute community, Aitken is primarily known in Canada as a concert producer and that his reputation as a virtuoso flutist is celebrated more on an international scale than a local one.61 From a flutist’s perspective, Aitken’s role as concert producer may seem like a footnote at best when discussing his interactions with composers — at worst it could be seen as a serious impediment to his livelihood as a performer. His multifaceted career, however, has put him at a significant advantage over other performers. Unlike many of his flutist colleagues, Aitken’s association with New Music Concerts has given him access to finances to secure concert venues, publicity, performers fees and even international commissions. A concert programme would never have to be “shopped around” to (often conservative) presenters: Aitken had his own series and could be as experimental as he wished. Through his work as a performer, conductor and presenter, he has become an internationally acclaimed exponent of new music, premiering works by such Canadian composers as Gilles Tremblay, R. Murray Schafer, Harry Freedman, Oskar Morawetz, and Telivaldis Kenins as well as international composers, including John Cage, Toru Takemitsu, Elliot Carter, George Crumb, Jo Kondo and Thorkel Sigurbjörnsson. With regard to the flute, a number of significant works by key Canadian and international composers have been written for and/or premiered by Aitken. These include: 61  Pamela Margles, “Multi-Faceted: Robert Aitken,” in The WholeNote, December 2008, (accessed 20 November 2010).  42  John Cage: Ryoanji Elliot Carter: Scrivo in Vento Brian Cherney: Doppelganger George Crumb: Idyll for the Misbegotten Manuel Enriquez: Quintet (for flute and strings) Telivaldis Kenins: Sonata for flute and piano Bruce Mather: Cuisonne Arne Nordheim: Tractus Roger Reynolds: Transfigured Wind IV R. Murray Schafer: Flute Concerto Toru Takemitsu: Bryce Gilles Tremblay: Acht Flötenfest für Robert Aitken In Freiburg This chapter discusses the genesis of three works written for Aitken: Ryoanji by John Cage, Idyll for the Misbegotten by George Crumb and Scrivo in Vento by Elliot Carter. In a phone interview between Aitken and the author on 28 December 2009, the senior flutist specifically discussed these three works as being of particular significance in his commissioned repertoire. It is worth noting that all three pieces were written as gifts for the flutist, without any thought of financial recompense. That the contemporary flute literature should be augmented by the contributions of such significant composers without any thought of monetary gain is a testament to Aitken’s prowess as a flutist and his infectious exuberance for expanding his instrument’s repertoire.  John Cage: Ryoanji (1984) John Cage (1912 – 1992) became a household name primarily as the composer of 4’33”, a notorious composition from 1952 in which not a single note of “music” is performed. Due to the inactivity of the on-stage performer, this three-movement work consequently turns the listener’s attention to the sounds of his or her environment: a coughing audience member, a dropped programme, the concert hall’s air conditioning. To  43  a large extent, this “silent prayer” was the manifestation of Cage’s interest in non-western cultures, specifically the spiritual silence taught by Japanese Zen Buddhism.62 Cage’s fascination with Eastern cultures, along with his pioneering development of chance music and the prepared piano, ensured him a place in the pantheon of America’s greatest 20thcentury composers. In 1977, New Music Concerts presented an all-Cage event. However, it wasn’t until 1982 that Robert Aitken would first meet the composer in the flesh, when New Music Concerts mounted Cage’s Roaratorio with the composer present to narrate the poetry of James Joyce. Aitken recounts that there were two performances given of Roaratorio at the Graduation Hall at the University of Toronto: the first concert boasted an audience of 1,300 people. The second concert was the victim of a snowstorm, but still managed an audience of 800, with ardent concertgoers “arriving on cross-country skis.”63 Aitken and Cage became fast friends from this point on, sharing a passion for fine food and single malt scotch, in addition to their common professional interests.64 Cage was strongly influenced by the aesthetics and ideas of the Far East. In 1951 Christian Wolff introduced him to the I Ching (Chinese Book of Changes) — a book that would wield an enormous influence over his music. Around this same time he attended a lecture on Zen philosophy by Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki at Columbia University. Zen’s “abnegation of ego and will” and its deceptively simple aspiration to a state of “nomindedness” constituted the beginnings of Cage’s indeterminate music, and became the  62  James Pritchett and Laura Kuhn. “Cage, John.” In Grove Music Online, (accessed 20 November 2010). 63 Aitken, phone interview. 64 Ibid.  44  driving force that would eventually beget 4’33”.65 Eastern practices even directed his personal life. In the 1970s, Cage began consulting a shiatsu therapist (on the advice of Yoko Ono) and took up a macrobiotic diet. In 1983, Cage began a series of instrumental works entitled Ryoanji, named after the karesansui rock garden of the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. This dry landscape, with its raked gravel and fifteen larger stones, was a potent source of inspiration for Cage, begetting a series of drypoint prints as well as a number of musical works of the same name. The earliest musical versions of Ryoanji were for solo percussion and orchestra.66 However, at the request of oboist James Ostryniec for a solo piece, Cage began re-envisioning Ryoanji for various solo instruments plus percussion or orchestra accompaniment.67 The score consists of eight two-page movements (or nine movements, in the case of the vocal version), each containing four rectangular boxes. Inside each box, lines graphically depict the perimeters of fifteen stones. The instrumentalist interprets these lines by performing a series of corresponding glissandi. There are instances throughout the score where multiple lines are concurrently active, in which case the additional lines are to be pre-recorded and played back through a separate channel. There are a total of four independent voices (one live, three pre-recorded) in the flute version of Ryoanji, plus percussion/orchestra.  65  Margaret Leng Tan, “Taking a Nap, I Pound the Rice: Eastern Influences on John Cage” in John Cage at Seventy-Five (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1989), 34, 42. 66 David W. Bernstein and Christopher Hatch, eds., Writings through John Cage’s Music, Poetry, and Art (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001), 236. 67 Ibid.  45  Example 15 — The opening of the first movement of Ryoanji.  The intervallic boundaries are stated at the beginning of a movement: for example, G4 to B4 in the first movement, with the vertical extremities of each box indicating these pitches, while the horizontal extremities indicate duration (Example 16). The vertical placement of the line within each box depicts the approximate pitch range of the glissando (within the given interval), while its horizontal length delineates how long the glissando should be held. In some cases, the space between intervals is relatively narrow — for example, from G#4 to A4 in the third movement — indicating a highly compact level of microtonal/glissando activity within a box. Throughout and in between the movements of Ryoanji, the percussion (or orchestral) accompaniment performs a nearly steady pulse, evoking Korean drumming rhythms, in which attacks occur on a regular beat, or slightly before or after. 68 Occasionally an attack is missing entirely, its absence having been predetermined by the I Ching. A tempo is not given, but Cage states that “each part should be played or recorded independently of one another but within that  68  Aitken, phone interview.  46  same total length of time and following the general outlines of proportional notation.”69 The overall result is a depiction of the Ryoanji rock garden through sound, with the soloist representing the stones, the accompaniment the raked sand.70 Aitken’s recollections about the genesis of the flute version of Ryoanji are interesting, not least of all because they reveal a major discrepancy with the published score. Aitken states that Cage’s inspiration for Ryoanji started with a visit to the flutist’s home in Toronto: He wrote it because he discovered a bamboo flute here at my house. He fell in love with it — I made it myself, you could play in C major, and you could play all the semitones basically. I brought back a whole stack of bamboo from Hawaii, and left it sitting outside in the backyard through the winters, and I took the ones that didn’t crack, and made flutes out of them. This one sounds like an alto flute — actually it sounds more beautiful than an alto flute, of course it does. And John heard that, then shortly after that he sent me a piece for it plus three recorded bamboo flutes [Ryoanji].71 Aitken’s assertion that the piece was intended for a bamboo flute and not a Western concert flute makes sense as far as the general aesthetics of the piece are concerned. The tone (and even mere physical presence) of a bamboo flute would naturally evoke the Eastern sound world one might associate with the temple garden of Ryoanji. But this specific instrumentation request is ignored in the published score of the work. Aitken insists that performing Ryoanji on a bamboo flute is essential to the success of the piece, not only because it was the tone colour of the wooden flute that inspired Cage to write the piece in the first place but also because achieving the smooth, continuous glissandi that abound in the piece are nearly impossible on the standard concert flute. 69  John Cage, Ryoanji for flute with percussion or orchestral obbligato (New York: Edition Peters, 1984), preface to the score. 70 Bernstein and Hatch, 236. 71 Aitken, phone interview.  47  Each movement is glissando — it’s all glissando. You can’t really play it on a modern flute at all, although Pierre-Yves Artaud went out and recorded it on a modern flute, but… it doesn’t work. Now, Pierre-Yves is my good buddy, but just the same, you can’t do it. It has to be a bamboo flute…72 There is evidence that suggests that Ryoanji could also be performed on the standard concert flute as well as the bamboo flute. First of all, Cage had announced in a 1984 interview that he was writing a “set of pieces called Ryoanji — not ones for percussion or for orchestra, but for soloists: oboe, flute, voice, double bass…”73 He never mentions that he was writing for a bamboo flute — a specification one thinks he could and would make, given his interest in Asian culture and in particular the Eastern influence that inspired the Ryoanji series in the first place. Moreover, the fact that there are multiple versions of the piece suggests that Cage was perhaps less interested in capturing a specific, “ideal” sound and more concerned with how different instruments react when confronted with glissandi techniques: the ability of each instrument to produce glissandi (from the trombone and voice, where it is extremely easy, to the oboe, which is even less disposed to glissandi than the standard concert flute) forms an integral part of each piece in the Ryoanji cycle. Cage even cites in the preface to the flute version that the occurrence of accidental multiphonics should not be discouraged (a side effect less likely to occur on a bamboo flute, incidentally).74 Aitken maintains that he had never asked Cage for a piece — it was in fact Cage who announced to Aitken that he planned to write a flute version of Ryoanji. In his 72  Ibid. In fact, Artaud recorded his version on “octobass” flute (Neuma, CD 450-77), which sounds one octave below the bass flute, and two octaves lower than the standard concert flute. It is perhaps more because of this unorthodox choice of instrumentation that Aitken reacted so vehemently to Artaud’s interpretation. 73 Richard Kostelanetz, Conversing with Cage (New York: Limelight Editions, 1988), 101. 74 John Cage, Ryoanji, preface to the score.  48  interview with the author, Aitken displays obvious pride and affection for the piece but also admits that the flute version of Ryoanji is fraught with details that are not immediately evident upon first looking at the score: It’s very effective… I did it the first time in Mexico, and then I phoned him and told him about it, and he said, “and oh yes, how long did you make the silences between the movements?” And I said, “I didn’t know there were supposed to be silences in between the movements.” And he said, “Well, you didn’t read the directions.” The hell I didn’t read them! When you play a piece of John Cage you have to read it like you’re a lawyer, you know. Most people don’t.75 While the issue of rests in between movements appears to have been corrected in the published score, there remain a number of other ambiguities. 76 The lack of tempo indication results in wildly differing durations from performance to performance, and from performer to performer.77 In addition, the score neglects to mention that the percussion/orchestral part, which is not included in the flute score, exists as its own published piece. In fact, there is barely anything to suggest that an accompaniment exists at all in Ryoanji beyond the title page (“Ryoanji, Flute, with percussion or orchestra obbligato”) and a vague statement in the preface that “the percussion piece begins and ends the performance.” These inconsistencies can, however, be entirely intentional on the part of the composer. Margaret Leng Tan states that many of the paradoxes in Cage’s music can be  75  Aitken, phone interview. The preface of the published score states that the percussion “continues during silences of any length between flute pieces.” In addition to this, fermatas have been added at the ends of the second and thirds movements. 77 The two recordings in the author’s possession reveal a durational difference of almost ten minutes, from Dorothy Stone’s 14:43 to Pierre Yves Artaud’s 23:18! Interestingly, Stone’s recording also neglects to add silences between movements. 76  49  attributed to the “multitude of paradoxes unique to Zen.”78 The expectations we have as Western-trained musicians are immediately thwarted by Ryoanji’s unconventional notation, which Cage called “a ‘still’ photograph of mobile circumstances.”79 Our desire for tempo indications is ignored. We are forced to approach Ryoanji with the same untamed order that begat the garden that inspired it: seemingly random, yet hyperorganized. “On close examination,” writes Tan, “John Cage’s philosophy is fraught with contradictions, but is that not inevitable and true to the highest traditions of Zen?”80  George Crumb: An Idyll for the Misbegotten (1985) George Crumb (b. 1929) is arguably one of America’s most popular living composers. His ability to create unconventional yet immediately accessible sound worlds — primarily through a virtuosic understanding of instrumental extended techniques — has earned him the distinction of being one of the few post-World War II composers whose music is widely accepted and performed as part of the standard classical repertoire. While Crumb’s output for the flute is not prolific — seven chamber works — it is significant, demonstrating an exquisite understanding of the instrument’s timbral potential. It is interesting to note that many of the instruments that feature prominently in Crumb’s oeuvre are instruments that surrounded him while growing up: his brother was an amateur flutist, his mother was a professional cellist, while Crumb himself played the  78  Tan, “Taking a Nap,” 50. Cage, Ryoanji, preface to the score. 80 Tan, “Taking a Nap,” 54. 79  50  piano and clarinet (his father, a copyist, arguably had a significant influence on the son’s preoccupation with the graphic nature of many of his scores).81 An Idyll for the Misbegotten was written in 1985 for amplified flute and three percussionists and was dedicated to Aitken. This curiously titled ten-minute piece was inspired by “the fateful and melancholy predicament of the species homo sapiens at the present moment in time.”82 Mankind has become ever more “illegitimate” in the natural world of plants and animals. The ancient sense of brotherhood with all life-forms (so poignantly expressed in the poetry of St. Francis of Assisi) has gradually and relentlessly eroded, and consequently we find ourselves monarchs of a dying world. We share the fervent hope that humankind will embrace anew nature’s “moral imperative.”83 The composer further recalled that “…there was a phrase — I probably read it somewhere — ‘a broken idyll’ or ‘a flawed idyll.’ The idyll is something naturally perfect, and here we have a flawed idyll, but nonetheless an idyll, in my mind.”84 Crumb was attracted to the contradictory nature of the title: nature music for a life form that was gradually becoming less and less natural. To this end, the choice of flute and percussion seemed ideal, as these were instruments, in Crumb’s mind, that “most powerfully evoke the voice of nature” but that were subsequently tainted and altered by their human (and thus ultimately flawed) masters. 85 The composer’s request that the piece be ideally (if impractically) “heard from afar, over a lake, on a moonlit evening in August” further  81  Hsiao-Chieh Lin, “George Crumb’s Chamber Music for the Flute: An Overview with an Analysis of An Idyll for the Misbegotten” (D.M.A. diss., University of Washington, 2009), 19. 82 George Crumb, An Idyll for the Misbegotten (NY: C.F. Peters Corp., 1986), preface to the score. 83 Ibid. 84 Edward Strickland, American Composers: Dialogues on contemporary music (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991), 166. 85 Crumb, An Idyll for the Misbegotten, preface to the score.  51  emphasizes the incompatibility of nature and human technology, given the piece’s elaborate amplification requirements. 86 An Idyll for the Misbegotten, like many of Crumb’s works, borrows from other sources, both musical and extra-musical. Most obviously, just before Rehearsal 10 in the score, there is an almost-direct quote from the opening of Syrinx, Claude Debussy’s celebrated solo flute piece from 1913:  Example 16 — “Syrinx” quote from Idyll for the Misbegotten, p. 7 of score.  The descending line of the opening of Syrinx returns throughout Idyll, albeit obscured by chromatic ornamentation, more complex rhythms, and unorthodox articulations.87 Crumb’s tribute to Debussy’s pastoral, and ultimately tragic, recounting of the unrequited love of Pan for Syrinx reiterates the purity of the natural world (Syrinx), and the invasive, destructive actions of unnatural elements (Pan).88 In addition to the nod to Debussy, Idyll also quotes two lines of poetry by SsuK’ung Shu, a poet from eighth-century China:  86  Ibid. Tracey Schmidt, “Debussy, Crumb, and Musical Borrowing in An Idyll for the Misbegotten” in George Crumb and the Alchemy of Sound (Colorado Springs: Colorado College Music Press, 2005), 173. 88 Ibid., 174. Schmidt refers to the myth of Pan and Syrinx, as recounted in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. 87  52  The moon goes down. There are shivering birds and withering grasses. The flutist speaks these lines immediately before and after the Syrinx quote before Rehearsal 10. Each statement is whispered across the mouthpiece while the player fingers specific pitches and rhythms. The text reiterates the bleak atmosphere of the piece: the light is fading and the flora is dying. Aitken’s relationship with Crumb began even before the launching of New Music Concerts. Virtually every chamber piece written by Crumb received its second performance by Aitken and his associates at the Shaw Festival at Niagara on the Lake. “We basically played everything: Night of the Four Moons,89 and of course we did the second performance of Vox Balaenae at Niagara on the Lake — and he came [to the performance] and he was so excited because Jayn Rosenfeld and her group in New York … they just used air mikes. 90 We used contact mikes on every instrument, and that was the first time [the piece had been performed this way], and he was very excited about that.”91 It was perhaps this fidelity to the score, along with Aitken’s prowess and general affection for the composer’s music, that inspired Crumb to write Idyll for the Misbegotten. As in the case with Cage’s Ryoanji, Aitken never asked Crumb for a piece outright. The flutist recounts, “I just got a phone call one summer and [Crumb] said, ‘Bob, I’ve been thinking of writing a piece for you.’ Anyway, he just decided to write it  89  Night of the Four Moons, for alto, alto flute (doubling piccolo), banjo, electric cello and percussion, written in 1969. 90 The New York Camerata, for whom Vox Balaenae was written in 1972. 91 Aitken, phone interview.  53  out of the blue… Well, when I hung up the phone, I was so happy. I didn’t ask him to write it, or commission it or anything…”92 Idyll for the Misbegotten received its premiere in Toronto in 1986, presented by New Music Concerts. The performers were Aitken plus percussionists Beverley Johnston, John Brownell and Richard Sacks.93 However, Aitken claims he hasn’t performed the piece much since the premiere: “I haven’t done it that many times. We had the premiere here in Toronto, I did it in Germany maybe three times, and we of course recorded it.”94 There are practical concerns that complicate the possibility of multiple performances of this piece. Firstly, there is the issue of instrumentation, which calls for an elaborate percussion list, including bongo drums, two African log drums, ten tomtoms, and three bass drums of varying sizes, distributed between three players. In addition, the three bass drums had to be of a particular make, in order to properly perform the “Lion’s roar,” a technique achieved on the bass drum by pushing “the right hand thumb (or fingertip) over several inches of the membrane while pressing very firmly.”95 “The drummers have a hell of a time getting the drum to speak with their thumb,” Aitken recalled, “They usually have trouble because it’s hard to find three bass drums with skin heads, as opposed to plastic.”96 According to Aitken, locating the three bass drums with skin heads required for Idyll was difficult enough in Toronto; one would thus presume that finding them available in smaller communities would be near impossible, resulting in expensive transportation costs. Any hopes Aitken may have harboured for this piece to enter the  92  Ibid. Lin, “George Crumb’s Chamber Music for the Flute,” 63. 94 Aitken, phone interview. 95 Crumb, An Idyll for the Misbegotten, preface to the score. 96 Aitken, phone interview. 93  54  standard contemporary flute repertoire would have been thwarted by these awkward instrumental requirements. The stage setup for Idyll is also problematic. The composer specifies the spatial deployment of the four musicians (see diagram below). The physical distance separating each performer would complicate the coordination of attacks and rhythmically sensitive passages.  Example 17 — Crumb’s suggested setup for Idyll for the Misbegotten.  There are unusual requests in the flute part as well. Aitken singled out the whistle tones, which go as low as A5 and G5, as being one of the most challenging parts of the piece:  Example 18 — Whistle tones from Idyll for the Misbegotten, p. 11 of score.  55  This soft, mellifluous extended technique (also referred to as “whisper tones”) is described by Robert Dick in his manual, The Other Flute: Whisper tones, sometimes called ‘whistle tones’, are individual partials of notes, and are high, pure sine tones. They can be produced with every fingering, and, depending on the fingering used, from five to fourteen whisper tones can be sounded by forming a very narrow lip opening and blowing as gently as possible across the embouchure hole. Whisper tones are difficult to sustain individually, for they have a strong tendency to oscillate from one to another. With considerable practice, however, it is possible to play whisper tones forming almost any pitch sequence.97 The “considerable practice” required to control specific whistle tone pitches is not an overstatement. Playing whistle tones this low, however, requires a particularly slow and controlled airstream — an effect almost impossible to achieve in a public performance, when adrenaline can thwart the more subtle aspects of flute playing. “It’s tricky, isn’t it?” said Aitken of this section. “[Crumb] said flute players come up to him and say, ‘Why did you write those whistle tones so low?’ — you remember: they go down to the first octave. And he said, ‘Well, Bob Aitken told me he could do it, so I went ahead and did it!’ — I never told him he could do it at all! When he wrote those I looked at it and thought, ‘Aww, this is impossible,’ and then I started to work on it… [now] I can play them pretty well every time, very easily. But I didn’t tell him he could do it…” These comments suggest that Crumb, like Cage, never consulted with Aitken in the creation of the Idyll for the Misbegotten, despite the fact that the piece is replete with techniques that are idiosyncratic to the flute. Crumb, Aitken asserts, used to play the flute to some degree, and therefore understood the instrument’s extended sound world from a 97  Robert Dick, The Other Flute: A Performance Manual of Contemporary Techniques, second edition (St. Louis: Multiple Breath Company, 1989), 140.  56  performer’s perspective.98 Given his prior knowledge of the instrument and the fact that Idyll was an unsolicited gift for Aitken, Crumb likely saw little reason to communicate with the flutist during the composition of the work. Aitken, while obviously demonstrating a great deal of pride in having a hand in the creation of Idyll for the Misbegotten, nevertheless gives the impression that he prefers to perform another of Crumb’s major chamber works, Vox Balaenae, for electric flute, electric cello and electric piano. Aitken claims to have performed Vox Balaenae “forty or fifty times,”99 and displays a level of affection for the piece that is not immediately apparent with Idyll. Discussions about Idyll invariably led back to comparisons to or anecdotes of Vox Balaenae, as though he perhaps wished Crumb’s piece for him was slightly more in keeping with the earlier work.100 Vox Balaenae has the advantage of a conventional instrumentation, and is thus better disposed to multiple performances and touring, while Idyll’s unique gear requirements and spatial setup make it challenging to both programme and perform.101 While the reasons can only be surmised, the fact remains that Idyll for the Misbegotten and Ryoanji remain rarely performed, despite the fact that both pieces are regarded as important works in the oeuvres of their respective composers. For many commissioning performers, the public acceptance of a new work is the ultimate recognition and justification of their efforts. Musicians who regularly commission new music often do so because they see a need for the repertoire to be enriched and expanded. However, the creation of a new work is only the first step. It then becomes the 98  Aitken, phone interview. Ibid. 100 Ibid. 101 In addition to Vox Balaenae, works by Hummel, Weber, Martinu, and Gaubert (among others) exist for this same instrumentation. 99  57  responsibility of the performer to promote the piece, so that it is not only embraced by the concert-going public but by other musicians as well. This final step is significant, as it is only through the advocacy of performers other than the commissioner that a given piece can enter the standard repertoire. In the case of Aitken, he would see his efforts culminate in a short solo flute piece by the American composer Elliot Carter, which would become one of the most widely performed pieces for solo flute to be written in the second half of the 20th century.  Elliot Carter: Scrivo in Vento (1991) One of the most respected composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Elliot Carter (b. 1908) fused American and post-World War II European aesthetics. A foundation was built on neo-classical sensibilities — with influences that included Copland, Barber, and Stravinsky, and further enriched by studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris — but this was ultimately abandoned for a style that embraced atonality and extreme rhythmic complexity. But while his mature music is atonal, it does not make use of the serial techniques endorsed by the Darmstadt school. Carter instead independently categorizes all possible combinations of pitches (for example, all pitches derived from three-note, four-note, or five-note chords). But perhaps the most striking feature of his atonal works is his use of polyrhythms and metric modulation, in which a tempo pivots into another by way of mathematical relationships between them. Prior to 1980, Carter was primarily known as a composer of large-scale pieces that explore complex contrapuntal dialogues. Notable works include the Variations for Orchestra (1954-5), the Concerto for Orchestra (1969) and five string quartets, of which  58  the second and third won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 1960 and 1973 respectively. In these works, the various threads of independent rhythmic and melodic activity could be likened to different characters interacting in a play: unique and independent, but still unquestioningly part of a larger dramatic whole.102 For years, Aitken had asked Carter for a solo piece or an ensemble piece that would feature the flute in a soloistic capacity.103 In 1991, Carter was invited to be the composer-in-residence for the symposium of Centres Acanthes, which would meet that year in Villeneuve-les-Avignon. Aitken would be on faculty as well, presenting masterclasses and performances of Carter’s music. The occasion would again inspire Aitken to voice his desire for a new work in a letter dated 12 November 1990: Over the years, I have been always hinting, and asking and joking about your writing a piece for solo flute, or solo flute in any combination. It would be such a valuable addition to the repertoire and I would love to be the one to commission it. As I have often said, if you ever get the tiniest idea, please let me know and I will dig into my savings account as deeply as is necessary. I realize that you are always in the midst of huge pieces… but Avignon would be a wonderful place for a new solo flute piece. The church there in the evening, with one half open to the summer sky and the view of the castle in the background, gives such a wonderful air of relaxed concentration. The sound is gorgeous, ornamented from time to time by passing birds and the resident swallows.104 Aitken and Carter met again in the spring of 1991 at a festival in Badenweiler, Germany. It was here that Aitken again pressed Carter for a solo flute piece, or at least a  102  David Schiff. "Carter, Elliott." In Grove Music Online, (accessed 19 December 2011). 103 Leonard L. Garrison, “Three late works by Elliot Carter: An analysis and flutist’s performance guide” (D.M.A. diss., Northwestern University, 1992), 262. 104 Robert Aitken, Freiburg, to Helen and Elliot Carter, New York, 12 November 1990. Quoted in Garrison, “Three late works by Elliot Carter,” 262.  59  new “fifth” movement for J.S. Bach’s a-minor solo flute Partita BWV 1013.105 This time, Carter obliged: within three weeks of their meeting in Badenweiler Scrivo in Vento was mostly written.106 The title of the work is taken from a sonnet of Petrarch, who lived in the Avignon region in the early 1300s: Beato in sogno et di languir contento, d’abbracciar l’ombre et seguir l’aura estiva, nuoto per mar che non à fondo o riva; solco onde, e ‘n rena fondo, et scrivo in vento… Blessed in sleep and satisfied to languish, to embrace shadows, and to pursue the summer breeze, I swim through a sea that has no floor or shore, I plow the waves and found my house on sand and write on the wind…107 Aitken premiered the piece in Avignon for the Centre Acanthes symposium on 20 July 1991 (which was coincidentally Petrarch’s 687th birthday) on a programme that included Carter’s Enchanted Preludes for flute and cello and selections from Eight Pieces for Four Tympani, as well as Varèse’s Density 21.5, Aitken’s own solo flute piece Plainsong, Heinz Holliger’s “T(air)e” and Le sifflements des vents porteurs de l’amour for flute and percussion by the Canadian composer Gilles Tremblay. Considerable correspondence between Carter and Aitken took place in the months before the premiere. Carter was clearly concerned with Scrivo’s playability and consulted  105  Aitken, phone interview. Aitken maintains that a fifth movement — a gigue, most likely — is missing from the manuscript of Bach’s solo flute Partita BWV 1013. Garrison believes that Aitken’s request for Carter to “complete” the partita was a joke, but there was nothing to indicate in the author’s interview that Aitken was anything other than sincere in his inquiry. 106 Ibid. 107 Elliot Carter, Scrivo in Vento (New York: Hendon Music: Boosey & Hawkes, 1991), preface to the score. English translation by Robert M. Durling.  60  the flutist on a number of performance issues. In a letter to Aitken dated 4 May 1991, Carter wrote: I have decided to try my hand at a little flute piece for you at Avignon and would like to know if… these multiphonics (a) can be held for about 5” (f? or p?) (b) can be slurred into-away from single notes.  (Maybe they are not fool-proof; if so suggest others please.) Also is it possible to make a transition from triple tonguing on one note to flutter tongue (so one seems to speed up to the other) and then to non-flutter tongue (smoothly)? – In low register (E or F?) not loud (mf) – I have something ¾ written but want to be sure.108 In a subsequent letter, Carter acknowledges the difficulty in executing notes in the flute’s extreme high register and asks Aitken about the possibility of preceding grace notes: In thinking over & looking at your little SCRIVO piece there are two changes (or additions) I would like to make but am not sure what the fingering problems would be— m.6—The sudden high C# needs a prefix of about 3 grace notes  Please choose or suggest109  108 109  Quoted in Garrison, “Three late works by Elliot Carter,” 263. Ibid., 268.  61  In the same letter, Carter asks about the possibility of a high D# flutter tongue — an effect that Aitken evidently approved, as it is included in the final version, though it remains one of the more technically challenging moments of the piece.110 Aitken showed objective judgement in his responses to Carter: he made no attempt to make the piece “easier” for its own sake. In addition to the high D# flutter tongue, there are other passages that remain notoriously difficult. For example, Aitken insisted a slur from the highest “D” to the lowest “B” in M. 53 be kept, because “it’s possible, and it’s even good for us, because it teaches us to keep the airstream straight.”111 This statement is a clear indication that Aitken saw this piece having a life beyond the premiere. He recognized Scrivo in Vento’s potential to be embraced by the flute community at large and to even become of pedagogical significance. In fact, Aitken views Scrivo as being very much part of the traditional classical canon, likening the long legato phrases and the unpredictable character changes to the music of Mozart: “[Scrivo in Vento is] harder to play than you think… and to make it sound like Mozart. You really want it to sound like Mozart ‘cause he really wants expression in all those long notes, and to give it the direction — it’s very rare that I play it and I think I did a good job.”112 It is entirely possible that Carter viewed the piece in a similar way. His insistency that this “little piece” be performable suggests that he not only recognized the short amount of time Aitken had to learn the piece before the premiere, but he perhaps also understood the potential to create a work that could be widely embraced by flutists. Writing for solo instruments was a relatively new trend in Carter’s career: Scrivo in Vento  110  Ibid. Garrison, “Three late works by Elliot Carter,” 270. 112 Aitken, phone interview. 111  62  is preceded by only two other solo works, Changes for guitar (1983) and Riconoscenza per Goffredo Petrassi for violin (1984). Prior to 1983, writing for solo instruments would have been a difficult task, given the composer’s penchant for larger forces and complex, contrapuntal textures.113 By contrast, Scrivo in Vento is rhythmically straightforward, containing no metric modulations or polyrhythms — obstacles that would typically discourage less experienced flutists from learning the piece. It is interesting to note that once Carter found ways to create “a microcosm of his full-scale procedures,” a number of works for solo instruments poured forth from his pen. Between 1991 and 2009, his solo instrument catalogue would increase dramatically from three pieces to twenty-five. 114 Aitken demonstrates obvious pride in having commissioned the piece — “You can play [Scrivo in Vento] in the middle of an extreme contemporary concert… and people always like that piece the best”115 — but his disappointment is evident when discussing Carter’s more recent Flute Concerto (2008), premiered by Emmanuel Pahud, principal flute of the Berlin Philharmonic: “I had asked [Carter] so many times to write a flute concerto, which he did, but the one who’s playing it is Pahud… [Carter] didn’t write it for me, and I wish he had.”116 Aitken recalled that Carter spoke to him about his decision to write the concerto, explaining that it was a co-commission between the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, the Boston Symphony and the Berlin Philharmonic — an elaborate and prestigious commission, for which the choice of soloist was out of the composer’s hands. Carter had previously resisted the idea of writing a flute concerto, “because I felt that the flute could not produce the sharp attacks that I use so 113  Garrison, “Three late works by Elliot Carter,” 261. Ibid., 261. 115 Aitken, phone interview. 116 Ibid. 114  63  frequently. But the idea of the beautiful qualities of the different registers of the instrument and the extraordinary agility attracted me more and more, so when [JICMF founder] Elena Bashkirova asked me write something for her and the Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival, I decided it would be a flute concerto. From midSeptember 2007 to March 2008, ideas and notes for it fascinated me without relief.”117 One could add that it was likely Carter’s exposure to the flute’s “beautiful qualities” while writing Scrivo in Vento that provided a foundation for the Concerto to come into being.  * * * * *  It is interesting to note that Aitken was never consulted during the composition of either Ryoanji or Idyll for the Misbegotten. Aitken was, by this time, an internationally acknowledged exponent of avant-garde flute music, and both pieces make considerable use of extended sound palettes. However, Aitken never commissioned these works. In both cases the composer proposed the piece, without asking for remuneration. Thus it could be seen as potentially inappropriate to make suggestions or propose parameters on what were already generous gifts from internationally established composers. Still, there are some basic facts that cannot be ignored: Ryoanji and Idyll for the Misbegotten remain relatively obscure works that have yet to enter the standard 20th-century flute repertoire. The lack of conventional detail in Ryoanji, along with its unorthodox notation and overall difficulty, would discourage many flute players from performing it. Idyll for the 117  Elliot Carter. “Flute Concerto (2008): Composer’s Notes.” In Boosey & Hawkes, (accessed 19 December 2011).  64  Misbegotten, while expertly written for the flute, is thwarted by an awkward instrumentation and a physical configuration that confounds traditional chamber music communication. One cannot help but notice that of the three pieces discussed in this chapter, the one in which the most thorough collaboration occurred during its creation now enjoys the most widespread acceptance by the international flute community. The commissioning of Scrivo in Vento is arguably Aitken’s greatest contribution to the flute literature. After its premiere and publication, Scrivo quickly joined Density 21.5 and Sequenza I to become one of the most frequently performed modern works for solo flute, appearing regularly on advanced university student recitals and as required repertoire for international competitions. There are a number of reasons for this popularity: the piece is for a single wind instrument, and is therefore portable and practical to programme. Scrivo also effectively evokes the imagery and “paradoxical nature” of Petrarch’s sonnet, allowing more conservative audiences to appreciate and comprehend the work. 118 Finally, while still technically challenging, it is idiomatic for the instrument, thanks to extensive dialogue between composer and performer.  118  Carter, Scrivo in Vento, preface to the score.  65  Chapter 3 Mark Takeshi McGregor and the music of Ryan, Maxwell, and Morlock  This third and final chapter will discuss my own interactions with three Canadian composers in the creation of new music for the flute. For the past ten years I have worked with composers to expand and enrich the instrument’s repertoire. The creation and promotion of new compositions has been the primary reason for my founding or cofounding of three musical ensembles/organizations: Tiresias Duo (also referred to as Tiresias), my flute-piano duo with Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa, was founded in 2001. Named after the blind seer of Greek mythology who was transformed from a man to a woman and back to a man again, the duo focuses almost entirely on works from the early 20th century to present day. In addition to commissioning new pieces for (or including) flute and piano, Tiresias actively promotes and records music by previous generations of Canadian composers, including Jean Coulthard, Barbara Pentland, Elliot Weisgarber and Murray Adaskin. Tempest Flute Ensemble, founded in 2005. Consisting of ten flutists (three doubling piccolo, two doubling alto flute, one doubling bass flute), this group is an endeavour to create a substantial Canadian repertoire for an ensemble that has traditionally suffered from second-rate music and arrangements. In this regard the Tempest Flute Ensemble mirrors the efforts of Montréal’s Alizé, an eight-member flute ensemble directed by Véronique Lacroix. To date, the Tempest Flute Ensemble has performed exclusively Canadian repertoire, much of it in unusual venues throughout Vancouver.  66  Redshift Music Society (also referred to as Redshift) is a non-profit music society co-founded with composer Jordan Nobles in 2004. Driven by the understanding that the average Canadian does not actively seek out formal concerts of contemporary classical music, Redshift’s primary mandate is to bring Canadian new music out of the concert hall and into the venues of everyday life. Libraries, art galleries, shopping malls, parks and bird sanctuaries have all served as backdrops for our events, many of which are free to the public. The principal embodiment of the Redshift mandate is an event called Vertical Orchestra, mounted every two years in the atrium of the downtown branch of the Vancouver Public Library. These three entities have provided my colleagues and me with the basic infrastructure in which to present new works. Often Redshift will act as the presenting organization for the two performing ensembles, having access to national, provincial and civic funding. Tiresias has established strong ties with a number of other arts organizations in Vancouver, including the Pride in Art Society and the Powell Street Festival, while the Tempest Flute Ensemble has recently formed collaborative ties with Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal +, directed by Véronique Lacroix. The resources made available to Tiresias, Redshift and the Tempest Flute Ensemble — as well as the Victoria-based Aventa Ensemble, of which I am principal flute — have allowed me to commission a number of diverse new works by Canadian composers, including: Rose Bolton: To the Birds and Animals of the World for ten flutes; Dániel Péter Biró: Kivroth Hata’avah for solo bass flute; Jennifer Butler: Sky for ten flutes; For Dreams of Things Which Cannot Be for flute and piano; Seedlings for wind quintet; Dorothy Chang: Wrath (aka Mark’s Revenge) for solo flute; Derek Charke: Cross-Talk for ten flutes; André Cormier: tous facteurs étant égaux pour chœur de dix flutes;  67  Anna Höstman: Trace the Gold Sun for flute and orchestra; Chris Kovarik: Dectet for ten flutes; Sonata for flute and piano; Simon Martin: Musique d’art pour flûte et piano; James Beckwith Maxwell: diffusus for solo alto flute and nine tutti flutes; limina for flute, piano and percussion; invidere for solo flute; vovere for flute and chamber orchestra; Jocelyn Morlock: I conversed with you in a dream for flute and piano; L for solo alto flute; Piotr Grella-Mozejko: Tombeau sur la mort de Monsieur Gorecki for amplified alto flute and chamber orchestra; Gregory Lee Newsome: coruscating for ten flutes; in arc’s umbra for flute, piano and percussion; Avarice for solo flute; Jordan Nobles: Watermap for ten flutes; Alexander Pechenyuk: In Petto for flute and piano; Marci Rabe: Different Stones for ten flutes; Jeffrey Ryan: My Soul Upon My Lips for flute and piano; Yūrei for solo flute; Rodney Sharman: Arsis and Thesis for flute and piano In addition to works for flute, Redshift has commissioned a number of ensemble pieces (for brass ensemble, SATB choir, multiple trombones, multiple percussion, etc.) for our public music events, including pieces by Christopher Butterfield, Dorothy Chang, Giorgio Magnanensi, Cassandra Miller, Jason Nett, Scott Good, and Owen Underhill. The creation of many of these works was supported by grants from the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council. The majority of the commissioned works for flute feature more or less conventional writing for the instrument. Some composers, such as Butler, Charke, and Sharman, were able to draw upon their own experience as performing flutists to create works that integrate extended techniques in an effective and idiomatic fashion — in these cases, dialogue between flutist and composer was unnecessary. A number of experimental works, though, were the result of extensive discourse between the composer and myself. The genesis of three such works will be discussed here: Yūrei for solo flute  68  by Jeffrey Ryan; limina for flute, piano and percussion by James Beckwith Maxwell; and L for solo alto flute by Jocelyn Morlock.  Jeffrey Ryan: Yūrei for solo flute (2010) Jeffrey Ryan (b. 1962) originally studied at the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, before he “fled” to the Faculty of Music where he completed his Bachelor of Music.119 After further studies at the University of Toronto, Ryan received a Doctor of Music degree in composition from the Cleveland Institute, where he studied with Donald Erb. Ryan has contributed actively to the local and international music scenes, having completed commissions for the Cleveland Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Esprit Orchestra, New Music Concerts, Standing Wave, the Arditti Quartet, and Elektra Women's Choir. Since 1997, he has been Composer Advisor for Music Toronto. He was an Affiliate Composer with the Toronto Symphony from 2000 to 2002, and most recently, Ryan was the Vancouver Symphony's Composer Laureate for the 2008/09 season, after serving as Composer-in-Residence from 2002 to 2007. He presently resides in Vancouver. I had collaborated with Ryan on an earlier work for flute and piano, My Soul Upon My Lips, which explored a number of extended techniques in the flute part. Inspired by the imprisonment of Oscar Wilde at Reading Gaol, this work is also informed by a quote of Plato’s, from which it takes its title: “Kissing Agathon, I had my soul upon my lips; for it rose, poor wretch, as though to cross over.” My Soul was premiered by Tiresias at the 2008 Pride in Art Festival in Vancouver by Tiresias, and has been 119  Jeffrey Ryan. “Biography.” In Jeffrey Ryan, Composer, (accessed 20 November, 2010).  69  performed a number of times since. While the piano part of Ryan’s piece is conventionally written, the flute part makes liberal use of harmonics, pitch bending/glissandi and percussive effects, for which Ryan had consulted me in the early stages of composition. After hearing performances of Ryan’s Bellatrix (versions for solo violin and solo cello) in 2008, I proposed the possibility of a new piece for solo flute that might experiment with vocal techniques.120 While Ryan expressed interest in the idea, he wasn’t able to take the project on due to a busy schedule at the time. In 2010, Ryan received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to study compositional techniques for woodwind instruments, specifically the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon. The process would involve studying scores, consulting a professional performer, and creating a new solo work for each instrument. For Ryan’s study of the flute, I provided him with several scores, and met with him on a number of occasions to discuss and demonstrate various instrumental techniques for the instrument. 121 Given his previous experience writing for the flute, Ryan decided that the new solo flute piece would embrace more unorthodox playing techniques than the other three woodwind pieces and would contain a dramatic component.122 The resulting piece, Yūrei, makes robust use of extra-musical elements. Of the piece, Ryan writes: Yūrei are Japanese ghosts, spirits that for whatever reason have been kept from a peaceful afterlife. For centuries they have been a part of Japanese folklore, theatre and visual art, usually depicted dressed in the white burial kimono, with long black hair and without legs, seeming to float just above the ground. Traditionally, upon 120  Ryan’s Bellatrix (of which there are four versions: solo violin, solo viola, solo cello, and solo contrabass) makes use of dramatic vocalizations and breath sounds. 121 The scores included solo flute pieces by Brian Ferneyhough, Salvatore Sciarrino, Kaija Saariaho, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Toru Takemitsu. 122 Jeffrey Ryan, interview by author, digital recording, Vancouver, 17 November, 2010.  70  death, the soul (or “reikon”) awaits the proper burial rites, after which it joins its ancestors and protects the living family. However, if these rites do not take place, or if the soul is driven by powerful emotional conflicts, it can transform into a yūrei and can bridge the gap between the spirit and physical worlds.123 In addition to this mythological inspiration, the piece also makes use of a literary source, one that was specifically chosen as a way of acknowledging Ryan’s Irish background as well as my own Japanese ancestry. While researching for the piece, Ryan came across the writings of Lafcadio Hearn, a late 19th-century author. Born in Ireland, Hearn moved to the United States and finally to Japan in 1890 where he married a Japanese woman and became a citizen of the country, adopting the name Koizumi Yakumo. Ironically, it was from Japan that Hearn would have his greatest influence on English-speaking audiences, writing several books on Japanese culture as well as translations of ancient Japanese poetry. Ryan selected Japanese lyrics, translated by Hearn, that were in keeping with the “ghostly” theme: Oya no iken dé Akirameta no wo Mata mo rin-yé dé Omoi-dasu Kaäi, kaäi to Naku mushi yori mo Nakanu hotaru ga Mi wo kogasu. Nanno ingwa dé Jitsu naki hito ni Shin wo akashité, — Aa kuyashi!  123  Jeffrey Ryan, Yūrei (unpublished, provided by the composer, 2010), preface to the score.  71  Wasuraruru Mi naran to omo Kokoro koso Wasuré nu yori mo Omoi nari-keré Hi kururéba Sasoëshi mono wo — Akunuma no Makomo no koré no Hitoré-né zo uki! And Hearn’s English translation: Father and Mother forbade, and so I gave up my lover; — Yet still, with the whirl of the Wheel, the thought of him comes and goes. Numberless insects there are that call from dawn to evening, Crying, “I love! I love!” — but the Firefly’s silent passion, Making its body burn, is deeper than all their longing. Even such is my love…. Yet I cannot think through what ingwa I opened my heart — alas! — to a being not sincere! To wish to be forgotten by the beloved is a soul-task harder than trying not to forget. At the coming of twilight I invited him to return with me — ! Now to sleep alone in the shadow of the rushes of Akanuma — ah! what misery unspeakable!124 Ryan felt that the poem’s theme of unrequited love worked well in the context of his solo flute “ghost story”: the poem could easily be the words of a heartbroken yūrei as she wanders the marshes surrounding Akanuma lake, her soul doomed to never find rest.125 Yūrei makes use of a number of extended techniques, many of which — such as alternate fingerings, multiphonics, and tongue rams — had been discussed and explored  124 125  Lafcadio Hearn, Japanese Lyrics (New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007), 24 – 25. Jeffrey Ryan, interview.  72  in my previous meetings with Ryan while he was composing My Soul Upon My Lips. However, the opening of Yūrei encapsulates three techniques that had hitherto not been explored in Ryan’s flute music and were focal points in our recent discussions.  Vocal Effects The use of spoken dialogue is possibly the most immediately outstanding feature of Yūrei. Lines from the poem appear throughout Ryan’s piece and are to be spoken, in Japanese, by the flutist. The inclusion of text was, at least in part, the result of an earlier conversation with Ryan in which I expressed interest in a piece that would explore dramatic elements, in a way similar to Voice, Toru Takemitsu’s solo flute piece of 1971.126 In most instances in Yūrei, the text is to be whispered across the mouthpiece, the more percussive consonants exciting the resonance of the fingered pitch on the flute. Ryan notates the vocal and flute lines on two separate staves:  Example 19 — Opening of Yūrei.  126  Takemitsu wrote Voice for the Swiss flutist Aurele Nicolet. This piece is heavily influenced by the music of Japanese Noh theatre: traditional Japanese flute techniques, percussive effects and vocalizations (which include the recitation of poetry in French and English) create a three-way dialogue through a single medium. In recent years it has become a piece that I perform frequently, and is a piece that is universally well received, despite being of an avant-garde nature.  73  The end of this spoken section deftly weaves into conventional playing by way of the final syllable “wo.” The vocal exhalation required to annunciate this syllable transforms the accompanying key clicks into Aeolian (airy) tone, which quickly strengthens into conventional tone by the third system. While Ryan studied enough of the Japanese language to determine which words could be emphasized or repeated, he maintains that the overall intelligibility of the text is of less importance than their percussive and Aeolian qualities.127 The vocalizations of Yūrei lend an alien quality to the piece, not unlike the effect of the text recitation in Takemitsu’s Voice. In the case of the earlier work, the hard, syllabic attacks of the French text are accompanied by musical gestures that are equally percussive and violent, while the English translation that occurs throughout the second half of the piece exploits softer phonemes and are cushioned in musical material that is sparser and more lyrical.128 In both Yūrei and Voice, spoken text is used to establish a mood rather than create an intelligible narrative.  Key Noise Key noise is by no means a new effect in contemporary flute music, the earliest precedents occurring in Edgard Varèse’s Density 21.5 (1936) and Luciano Berio’s Sequenza I per flauto solo (1958). Ryan’s use of key noise is considerably more virtuosic than either of these works, often occurring in counterpoint with other effects. The more extensive use of key noise, however, revealed certain problems: the most effective key 127  Jeffrey Ryan, interview. The text used in Takemitsu’s Voice is taken from Shuzo Takeguchi’s Handmade Proverbs, but is used in French and English only. The French translation, “Qui va la? Qui que tu sois, parle, transparence!”, which exploits percussive consonants, is contrasted by the English, “Who goes there? Speak, transparence, whoever you are!”, which by contrast uses primarily softer phonemes. 128  74  noise occurs when the flutist’s fingers strike the keys — not when they are being removed from the keys. In instances of passages of continuous percussive key noise, certain notes therefore sound quite audibly, while others make virtually no sound at all. Ryan’s opening for Yūrei exploits both ascending and descending patterns of key noise:  Example 20 — Ascending and descending key noise in Yūrei.  This particular passage features key noise in predominantly ascending chromatic patterns. Ascending notes in the first octave of the flute typically require the flutist to remove fingers from keys, as opposed to striking them. Thus, there are instances in this passage where the notated key noise would not necessarily be heard. The percussive key noise in this passage, however, remains effective thanks mainly to coordination with the whispered recitation of text. The phonemes in the vocal line create pitched air noise when spoken across the lip plate of the flute (the Japanese text being particularly effective, employing many hard consonances such as “k,” “d,” and “t”). Hence, while certain key action works better than others in these passages, the pitch content is always present. In our session together, Ryan observed that the slight inconsistency in key noise volume throughout these sections lent a randomness to the  75  percussive attacks that he ultimately found attractive.129 The most arresting use of key noise occurs in the final measures of Yūrei: tremolo dyads consisting only of percussive key action form a foundation over which the final line of the poem, “Hitoré-né zo uki,” is whispered. Here, the key noise beautifully evokes the whispering rushes of Akanuma, while the final lines proclaiming the yūrei’s “unspeakable misery” echo into silence.  Example 21 — Final lines of Yūrei.  Inhalations The musical use of inhalation is often problematic, a point that Ryan and I discussed. The primary issue with inhaling across the mouthpiece of the flute is that, 129  Jeffrey Ryan, interview.  76  when executed conventionally, it produces little or no discernable pitch. Three previous works, Unity Capsule (1976) by Brian Ferneyhough, Yta I (1982) by Esa-Pekka Salonen and L’orizzonte luminoso di Aton (1989) by Salvatore Sciarrino, take steps to ensure the effectiveness of this technique. Ferneyhough used short, percussive inhalations accompanied with plosive consonants such as “kuh” or “tä,” often not even specifying a specific fingering to accompany the action. Salonen requests the performer to gasp noisily, with no intention of eliciting any pitch, whereas Sciarrino requires the flutist to inhale into the mouthpiece, covering the embouchure entirely, a technique that evokes pitches from the tube of the instrument, albeit sounding roughly a Major 7th lower than the fingered note. Ryan’s intention was to create an introduction that combines spoken Japanese text with pitched resonance and percussive key noise. Given the extraordinarily delicate and unremitting chant-like nature of this section, Ryan decided to incorporate the performer’s inhalations into the opening material, so as to give the impression of a single, unbroken phrase. The flutist is to inhale while continuing to whisper text and key-slapping specific 16th note pitches. An earlier draft of Yūrei, sent by email on 8 November 2010, appeared thus:  77  Example 22 — Opening of an earlier draft of Yūrei.  Inhalation on the syllables “O – ya” proved problematic for me. The vowels “Oh” and “Ah” require a wide embouchure and an open throat, and a quick inhalation would result in my arriving at maximum air capacity before I could finish executing the accompanying key clicks, while a slow inhalation on these vowels would excite no pitched response from the instrument. The second line saw a similar dilemma, with an inhalation occurring on the syllables “Dé – dé – dé.” After some experimentation, Ryan and I discovered that the most accommodating vowel for this action was “oo” (or “ü”): the embouchure remains small enough to draw in a full breath over the duration of a dotted quarter note, while the air stream is concentrated enough to gently elicit the sounds of the fingered pitches. Ryan’s final version of Yūrei sacrifices repetitions of the words “Oya” and “dé” for an indrawn breath on the vowel “oo,” creating a sound world that maintains an eerie atmosphere while being sympathetic to the technical realities of both instrument and performer. Moreover, while complete comprehension of the spoken text is not the aim of the opening, the final version avoids bringing unintended attention to words or parts of words — in this case, “Oya” (“parents”) and “iken dé” (“forbade”).  78  Example 23 — The final version of the opening of Yūrei.  Other instances of indrawn breath appear throughout Yūrei, deftly integrating a necessary human function into the musical fabric of the piece. A later inhalation immediately follows the spoken word “Omoidasu” (“remember”), acting as an extension of the last syllable and thus preparing the flutist for the cascade of sixteenth notes that immediately follow:  79  Example 24 — Yūrei, page 2, lines 5 – 7.  Another passage features an “audible inhale” — a gasp occurring over the space of a quarter rest equaling 120 BPM — that sets up an extensive grace note flourish. Unlike other instances of inhalation in Yūrei, this particular breath specifies no accompanying pitch.  80  Example 25 — Yūrei, page 3, lines 5 – 6. Audible inhale followed by flourish.  Ryan and I are in accord in the belief that his music — and the subsequent performances of his music — benefits tremendously from composer-performer dialogue. Throughout the creation of Yūrei, the discussions we had and the performance demonstrations I gave of Ryan’s material informed the final product. In the case of vocal techniques, it more-or-less confirmed what Ryan had already intuited. With key clicks, the result was somewhat different than what he had anticipated but nevertheless worked to his liking. Finally, in the case of indrawn breaths, our meetings proved to be vital in working out a practical solution that would not interfere with Ryan’s vision. The result is, in my opinion, an extraordinarily dramatic work that maintains a delicate balance of elements that are both challenging and utterly idiomatic.  James Beckwith Maxwell: limina for flute, percussion and piano (2008) James Beckwith Maxwell (b. 1968) was born and raised in Vancouver. His music studies began at the age of ten on the drum kit, and until well into his teens most of his musical forays were predominantly rock oriented. His introduction to classical music came by way of Mozart, specifically via the 1984 film Amadeus. “I had a fairly long love 81  affair with Mozart's music,” Maxwell recalled, “then moved up the centuries, eventually becoming fully obsessed with Stravinsky — I bought all the Stravinsky scores I could find recordings for.”130 Maxwell went on to study composition in Vancouver with Owen Underhill and David MacIntyre at Simon Fraser University and in Prague with Ladislav Kubik. In 2001 he completed his MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University. His work has been broadcast on CBC and has been performed internationally. In addition to Maxwell’s considerable catalogue of standard concert music — which includes co existare for brass choir, the piano concerto intueri, the chamber opera sleepyhead, and the symphonic work … a scrambling decade ends, premiered by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra — he has also excelled in the fields of contemporary dance, theatre and film. Maxwell has collaborated extensively with choreographers Claire French (who is also Maxwell’s partner) and Helen Walkley, director Mallory Catlett, and filmmakers Alex Williams and Alison Beda. Maxwell is also active as a researcher and programmer in the field of computer applications for interactive music composition. As of 2011, he is a doctoral student at Simon Fraser University, where he is exploring the design and development of computer-assisted composition tools, with a focus on using intelligent, adaptive systems as compositional “collaborators”. In 2007, while living in the UK, he established “mr. wheet”, an electronica-inspired side-project, integrating elements of his concert music language with his musical beginnings as a kit drummer. Mr. wheet’s debut CD, “What to do when you find yourself in Brighouse”, was released in December 2008.  130  James B. Maxwell, interview by author, digital recording, Vancouver, 20 January, 2011.  82  My first interaction with Maxwell was in 2001, when I was hired to perform his trio charis, for flute, clarinet and cello, for the Vancouver new music festival, Sonic Boom.131 This relatively early composition was deftly crafted for all three instruments, but I was particularly struck by his sensitivity towards the flute. Taking its title from the Latin root of the contemporary word “charisma”, charis was inspired “by a discussion with friends in which the point was being argued that the jury system, in law, simply couldn’t work. This argument was founded on the notion that someone would always sway the jury to their way of thinking, not necessarily by virtue of reason, but rather by force of character.”132 Thus, charis begins as a dialogue among equals, but over the course of the piece the flute emerges as the dominating voice, culminating in a final section that sees the flutist executing a number of percussive and Aeolian effects. The performance of charis was significant: Maxwell became the first composer I actively sought new commissions from, resulting in a professional relationship has become one of my most rewarding and prolific performer-composer collaborations. Maxwell has produced a number of new works at my request, many of which were the recipients of commissioning funds from the British Columbia Arts Council or the Canada Council for the Arts: pensare (2006), for woodwind quintet, premiered by the Ad Mare Wind Quintet; co-existare (2008), for brass ensemble, commissioned by Redshift for the event Vertical Orchestra 2008; limina (2008), for flute, percussion and piano, premiered by Tiresias with percussionist Brian Nesselroad; diffusus (2009), for solo alto flute and nine tutti flutes, premiered by the Tempest Flute Ensemble, with myself as the soloist; invidere (2010), for solo flute; vovere (2010), for flute and chamber ensemble, commissioned by the Aventa Ensemble. 131  The other performers were Francois Houle, clarinet, and Peggy Lee, cello. James B. Maxwell, charis (unpublished, provided by the composer, 1998), preface to the score. Most of the titles of Maxwell’s pieces are taken from Latin roots. 132  83  Of the commissions that include flute, the earliest (pensare, limina, diffusus) were preceded by extensive dialogue and experimentation, resulting in works in which extended techniques and unorthodox performance requests were incorporated in an entirely fluid and idiomatic manner. Since then our relationship has developed to a point where Maxwell intuitively understands what works well for the instrument. His concerto for flute and chamber orchestra, vovere, was written entirely without my consultation, but despite virtuosic use of extended techniques in the solo part — many of which were not previously explored in earlier compositions — the writing is consistently well suited to the instrument and performer (this is not to suggest that that vovere is “easy”; certain passages remain extraordinarily challenging). In 2008 I approached Maxwell with the idea of writing a new work for my duo, Tiresias. During this time I was also discussing with Rachel Iwaasa the possibility of adding percussion to one of our concerts.133 I suggested the inclusion of percussion to Maxwell, who, given his background as a drummer, I suspected would create an effective work for this combination. Maxwell obliged, and the resulting piece, limina, remains one of the most unique and challenging works in Tiresias’ commissioned repertoire. Limina takes its title from the Latin root “limen”, meaning “threshold”. The title was given after the piece was written (like most of the composer’s works) and was inspired by the manner in which Maxwell subtly pushed each instrument in ways that went beyond both conventional expectations and the trappings of his own personal style.  133  A more permanent addition of percussion was never something that was fully explored with Tiresias, despite the success of our initial concert. This was primarily because the addition of a third player inhibited our ability to rehearse frequently: Tiresias rehearsals tend to be numerous, and take place at Iwaasa’s home, making elaborate percussion setups impractical and expensive.  84  One of these “thresholds” takes the form of a tonal chorale, which appears and reappears throughout limina. This is an entirely unusual occurrence for Maxwell, whose work typically resists referencing pre-twentieth century common practice idioms.134 His handling of the chorale is also unusual. Its first statement, occurring at the beginning of the piece, is almost entirely obscured by the flute’s elaborate declamations and the unusual addition of a snare drum with brushwork that is reminiscent of the sounds of a skipping phonogram.135 At M. 33, the chorale is again stated, this time submerged in the pianist’s left hand. While the flute accompaniment is reduced to a less active state, the pairing of low piano and tubular bells creates one of the more unusual and striking moments of the piece. It is not until the very end of limina (M. 188) that the piano presents the chorale with flute and vibraphone in sympathetic accompaniment. The idea of a major theme revealing itself at the end (or towards the end) of a piece works against traditional listening expectations, but is a concept that has been explored earlier works such as the Concord Sonata (1920/47) by Charles Ives and the Nocturnal after John Dowland for guitar (1963) by Benjamin Britten. Maxwell claims that many of the unusual instrumental pairings in the piece were inspired by an observation made by his partner, choreographer Claire French: “It was Claire who suggested it: she was listening to [the sketches for limina], and she thought of it like a dance trio. She asked, ‘Who’s together? Is it a duet plus a solo, or is it three solos, or is it a trio?’ And she inspired this idea of the roles constantly changing or exchanging, of reassigning the roles in a way that would subvert expectation.”136 To this  134  A chorale-like subject would return in Maxwell’s flute concerto from 2010, vovere. James B. Maxwell, interview. 136 Ibid. 135  85  end, the percussion remains a primary vehicle for the unexpected. The wide range of instruments (snare drum, tubular bells, vibraphone, roto toms, bass drum, and cymbal) makes for a varied and exotic sound-scape, enriching and transforming the comparatively monochromatic utterances of the flute and piano. Of all of Maxwell’s works, limina seemed the most appropriate choice for the purposes of this thesis, as it is the one for which we met the most during its genesis. Since the creation of his earlier work, charis, Maxwell had demonstrated an enormous understanding of the flute’s percussive sound world, and in particular the use of unusual articulations, such as “SH” and “CH”.137 For limina, Maxwell wished to explore a subtler arsenal of effects, including alternate fingerings, harmonics and whistle tones, while the final section of the piece was a source of much experimentation and dialogue, resulting in a switch to the bass flute.  Alternate fingerings and Harmonics Early on in the creation of limina, Maxwell had enquired about alternate fingerings as a means of “activating” a single note: “I wanted these notes to be articulated using timbre, not the tongue. So these little rhythmic motives could emerge in a way that’s not entirely obvious.”138 The idea was that rhythmic variation can be derived from a single, sustained note through inflections of instrumental colour:  137  Ibid. Maxwell attributes this fluency to his appreciation for the flute music of Kaija Saariaho, particularly her double concerto for alto flute and cello, …à la fumée, which makes use of an elaborate range of vocal and percussive effects. 138 Ibid.  86  Example 26 — Alternate fingerings in limina, mm. 32 – 35.  As with Ryan in the creation of Yūrei, Maxwell wanted to be specific about which fingerings to use. For the recurring note A4, he selected four alternate fingerings that changed the colour of the note without significantly altering its pitch. The result is a timbrally diverse and rhythmically punctuated “drone”, overtop the chorale in the left hand of the piano. Later on (M. 61) the “drone” reappears, albeit two octaves higher (A6), accompanying the tubular bells. While experimenting with timbral diversity in this register, Maxwell and I discovered that many of the alternate fingerings were either too subtle for the ear to easily discern any colour change, or they deviated too far from the original pitch. As a result, the A6 drone uses three harmonics on the fundamentals D, F and A in lieu of alternate fingerings:  87  Example 27 — Harmonics in limina, mm. 61 – 64.  Unlike alternate fingerings, harmonics (as their name would imply) have the characteristic of “colouring” a partial with the fingered fundamental. Thus an A6 harmonic built on D4 will contain residual pitch of the D fundamental — essentially making it an extraordinarily discrete multiphonic. This is, of course, not the first time flute harmonics have been exploited for their multiphonic capacity — Berio’s Sequenza I per flauto solo arguably remains the most famous precedent. In limina, Maxwell’s inclusion of flute harmonics creates an additional layer of aural complexity, enriches the dialogue with the tubular bells, and (in keeping with the title of the piece) delicately acknowledges the threshold that divides the flute’s monophonic and polyphonic worlds.  88  Whistle (Whisper) Tones Some of limina’s most challenging flute writing occurs at M. 201: a five-note melody performed on whistle tones.139 In the contemporary flute literature, whistle tones have often been employed because of their instability. The natural tendency of whistle tones to fluctuate from one partial to the next is one that has been exploited by a number of composers, including Mary Finsterer, Jocelyn Morlock, Kaija Saariaho and Gilles Tremblay.140 Maxwell, on the other hand, joins a handful of composers — including Toru Takemitsu and George Crumb — who dictate specific whistle tone pitches in their music, although Maxwell’s whistle tone melody in the final moments of limina is far more extensive than those of either of his predecessors.141 The result is a fragile, otherworldly melody that is entirely in keeping with Maxwell’s idea of thresholds.  Example 28 — Whistle tones in limina, mm. 201 – 207.  Despite the apparent specificity of this moment, Maxwell admits that an absolutely clean execution is not what he had in mind: “You had this impulse to get them perfect,” Maxwell recalled when I mentioned the difficulty of this passage, “When in fact 139  An explanation of this extended technique is given in Chapter 2. Finsterer’s Ether, Morlock’s I conversed with you in a dream, Saariaho’s Laconisme de l’Aile and Tremblay’s Envol all make use of “unstable” whistle tones. 141 Takemitsu’s Itinerant (1989) and George Crumb’s Idyll for the Misbegotten (1985) both contain instances of specific whistle tone pitches. 140  89  I actually love it when it breaks up.”142 He adds, “That’s what I like about [whistle tones]: I like being able to use a colour, or a technique or an unusual orchestration that’s kind of wonky — it’s always going to be wonky, just because of the way it’s produced.”143 With this in mind, the whistle tone passage in limina could be notated in a manner similar to that of Toshio Hosokawa’s Vertical Song I (1995), in which pitches are specified, but are accompanied by trill-like “squiggles,” which suggest that while the notated pitch is desired, occasional accidental deviation is permissible:  Example 29 — Whistle tones in Vertical Song I by Toshio Hosokawa.  However, Maxwell’s notation demands a level of energy and attention from the performer that would be lacking with Hosokawa-styled notation. The result is an incredibly fragile moment, one that is perhaps even more beautiful because of the inevitability of failure at some point. Hosokawa’s notation invites a “letting down of the guard” that is not what Maxwell had in mind. Even if failure is inevitable, Maxwell’s notation demands perfection. It is from the performer’s attempts to resist human fallibility that this particular section of limina derives much of its expressive capacity.  142 143  James B. Maxwell, interview. Ibid.  90  Use of Bass Flute One of the most striking moments of limina occurs at M. 159. At this moment, the pianist for the first time plays inside the piano and repeatedly hits the frame of the instrument; the percussionist plays slow, steady rhythms on bass drum and cymbal, evoking a marche funebre; while the flutist switches to the bass flute, performing heavily embroidered passagework. Maxwell likened this new section to an “alternate universe”144 in which the musicians assume atypical performance roles. The methodical intonations of the bass drum, the exoticism of scraped piano strings, and the foreign strains of the bass flute evoke a world of alien ritualism that is arguably the most dramatic manifestation of Maxwell’s attempts to define yet another threshold in limina. That line is ultimately crossed, with the final statement of the chorale concluding the piece. The initial plan for the flute in this passage was far more unusual than a mere instrument change. In keeping with the pianist’s move to non-traditional playing techniques, Maxwell envisioned the flutist removing the headjoint of the instrument in a slow and deliberate fashion and then proceeding to play the main body vertically, blowing across the open hole, “shakuhachi-style”. While performing a “headless” flute would have certainly infused this moment with an aspect of visual strangeness that would have been desirable, it presented significant musical problems. Blowing across as wide an aperture as the opening of the body of the flute was perilous at the best of times for me, but it also posed the issue of producing a “scale” that Maxwell could not effectively use. Fingering a one octave  144  Ibid.  91  chromatic scale on the flute while blowing across the body “shakuhachi-style” created the following pitches:  Fingered pitch B3 C4 C#4 D4 E flat4 E4 F4 F#4 G4 G#4 A4 B flat4 B4 C5 C#5  Resulting pitch D quarter-tone sharp/E-flat4 E4 F quarter-tone sharp4 F#4 G#4 A4 B flat4 B quarter-tone sharp4 C#5 D quarter-tone sharp5 E5 F quarter-tone sharp5 F three-quarter-tone sharp5 G#5 A quarter-tone sharp5  The resulting pitches were by no means stable. Miniscule embouchure adjustments could affect the resulting pitch by as much as a semitone, meaning that it was not possible to write reliably for the instrument in this fashion. Maxwell needed a dramatic gesture that would deliver as much musically as it did theatrically. My suggestion of a switch to bass flute seemed an effective compromise. The relative rarity of bass flute in classical chamber music meant that there would still be considerable visual and aural impact with its sudden appearance towards the end of limina. In addition to a usable chromatic scale, the bass flute, sounding one octave lower than the standard concert flute, invokes a sound world reminiscent of ancient and primitive musical cultures — an aesthetic that is entirely in keeping with the unorthodox performance techniques used by pianist and percussionist. Maxwell introduces the bass  92  flute with a lyrical melody, heavily embroidered with grace notes and 32nd notes — a passage that would have been impossible to realize on the “headless” flute.  Example 30 — Bass flute writing in limina, mm. 159 – 165.  Maxwell’s handling of the bass flute is surprisingly conventional. He has chosen to exploit the bottom octave of the instrument, and the extremely sparse accompaniment allows the bass flute to be heard in this register without effort. The end of this section (M. 179) sees the one instance of bass flute extended techniques: a high G5, produced by alternating between the main fingering and three harmonic fingerings.  Example 31 — Bass flute harmonics in limina, mm. 179 – 181.  This final passage recalls the earlier use of flute harmonics beginning at M. 61, though in the third octave of the bass flute, the harmonics are now fragile and unstable.  93  The trembling, disintegrating quality of these harmonics can be seen as a final dispersion of past events and as a fitting way of ushering in the final chorale, which sees a return to the standard concert flute, conventional performance techniques, and clear, simple harmonies.  Jocelyn Morlock: L for solo alto flute (2011) In June 2009, I began plans for a solo flute concert that would involve commissioning a number of Canadian composers to write new works for me. Inspired by the 2008 Redshift event Cosmophony, where pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa presented nine new works by Canadian composers, each based on a planet of the solar system, I felt a similar type of theme might inspire potential composers as well as provide an Ariadne’s thread that would be attractive to new music concert presenters. After consulting with friends, it was decided that the Seven Deadly Sins would be an effective theme.145 The idea of “sin” as a thematic umbrella was provocative, marketable and a unique way of creating an avant-garde solo flute programme that could be comprehensible even to a conservative audience — my thinking at the time was that listeners would be more receptive to avant-garde music when it was being used to describe something evil, in the same way that people are often more accepting of dissonant, atonal music when used as scores for horror movies. Within a few months I had confirmed the composers for the Seven Deadly Sins project. They were: Dániel Péter Biró: Gluttony 145  It was, in fact, Jocelyn Morlock who came up with the idea of Seven Deadly Sins. Other possibilities that were entertained were the twelve signs of the Zodiac, the Twelve Olympians, and the Nine Muses.  94  Dorothy Chang: Wrath James Beckwith Maxwell: Envy Jocelyn Morlock: Lust Gregory Lee Newsome: Greed T. Benton Roark: Sloth Owen Underhill: Pride All of the composers delivered pieces that stretched my limits as a flutist, a creative artist, and as a performer. Chang’s Wrath, aka Mark’s Revenge is a highly theatrical (and often extremely funny) work that, in addition to pushing the extremes of technique and endurance, includes a middle section entitled “Litany of Curses” in which the flutist must snarl consonant plosives (“FF!!”, “SH!!”, “CH!!”, etc.) directly at members of the audience. Biró’s work, entitled Kivroth Hata’ava (“The Caves of Craving”), takes its inspiration from a passage in the Hebrew bible, in which God curses a gluttonous people who gorge themselves on pheasants. His work filters several strands of counterpoint through a single bass flute, culminating with the flutist “choking” on all the musical information. Vancouver composer Jocelyn Morlock provided perhaps the strangest work of the evening. Her piece, simply entitled L, incorporates spoken word and theatrics, but, beyond its innocent and occasionally comic veneer, it subtly explores more complex issues of gender and sexuality in contemporary flute music. Morlock was born in 1969 in St. Boniface, Manitoba. She received a B.Mus. from Brandon University where she majored in piano performance while studying composition privately with Pat Carrabré. In 1995 she moved to Vancouver to study composition at the University of British Columbia with Stephen Chatman and Keith Hamel, and privately with Nikolai Korndorf. She graduated with a doctorate in composition in 2002. Morlock’s international career was launched at the 1999 International Society for  95  Contemporary Music’s World Music Days with Romanian performances of her quartet Bird in the Tangled Sky. In 2002, her work Lacrimosa represented Canada at the UNESCO International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, where it was a recommended work. She has been composer in residence for a number of important Canadian music competitions, including the 2005 Montreal International Music Competition and the 2008 Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition. Her works have been performed across North America by such ensembles and soloists as Turning Point, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Windsor Canadian New Music Festival, the Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, musica intima with cellist Steven Isserlis, and accordionist Joseph Petric. To date, her music is available on twelve commercially available CD recordings, and her work for choir and solo cello, Exaudi, recorded by musica intima and Ariel Barnes, was nominated for a Juno in 2011. My first professional encounter with Morlock was in 1998, while she was a DMA student at the University of British Columbia. I had requested a work from her after being highly impressed with a solo bassoon piece of hers that I heard performed in Poland.146 At the time, both myself and another flutist, Chenoa Anderson, had expressed interest in a flute piece, and Morlock obliged us both with Velour for solo alto flute. The form of Velour, inspired by Britten’s Nocturnal after John Dowland for solo guitar, consists of a set of variations, followed by the theme. This piece also demonstrates Morlock’s interest in the flute music of Salvatore Sciarrino. Variation 2 makes extensive use of tongue rams (inspired by Sciarrino’s Come vengono prodotti gli incantesimi?), and Variation 3 utilizes the “Sciarrino double trill” (found in both Come vengono and Canzona di 146  Morlock’s The Darkness of Prairie Sky for solo bassoon, was performed by the American bassoonist Tracie Pybas at the European Mozart Academy in Mała Wieś, Poland, in 1996.  96  ringraziamento), in which descending notes in the left hand are coloured by the rapid trilling of the D and D# trill keys in the right hand. In 2005, I had the opportunity to commission Morlock again. Rachel Iwaasa had recently arranged Debussy’s Bilitis for flute and piano, and we were looking to commission a new work to act as a companion piece. Given that Bilitis was inspired by the sexually charged poetry of Pierre Louÿs, who had falsely claimed his works were translations of an ancient Greek contemporary of Sappho, we asked Morlock if she would consider writing a work inspired by the poems of Sappho. Commissioning funds were secured from the BC Arts Council, and on 28 July, 2006, Morlock’s I conversed with you in a dream for flute and piano was premiered by my duo, Tiresias, as part of the Pride in Art event “Queering the Air” in Vancouver. I conversed with you in a dream is comprised of four short movements: “I conversed with you in a dream I”, “Mingled with all kinds of colours”, “A Delicate Fire”, and “I conversed with you in a dream II” — all named after fragments of Sappho’s poetry. Morlock states, “Nearly all of Sappho’s poetry is preserved in fragmentary forms (of the various phrases I used, only ‘a delicate fire’ is excerpted from a full poem). I find these fragments incredibly powerful and evocative; the various sound-worlds of each of these short pieces were conceived as responses to Sappho’s pungent imagery.”147 In addition to various Tiresias performances throughout British Columbia and Alberta, I conversed with you in a dream has been taken up by a number of other flutists, and has  147  Jocelyn Morlock, I conversed with you in a dream (Vancouver: The Avondale Press, 2007), preface to the score.  97  had performances across Canada.148 In 2007, Iwaasa and I recorded the work at the Banff Centre for the Arts for our first CD release, Delicate Fires. When I asked Morlock if she would consider writing for my Seven Deadly Sins project, she immediately chose Lust. Her original idea was to explore a more diverse arsenal of extended techniques than in her previous flute works, particularly the use of vocal and percussive effects. As far as her overall intention of the piece was concerned, her initial thought was to see my onstage character “as an incubus, seducing his object of desire with his performance.”149 In later correspondence, Morlock revealed that she had changed directions with the piece. My initial plan was to dwell less on the ‘immoral’ aspects of the sin, and more on the sensual and the erotic. But recently I’ve begun to consider the more obsessive nature of Lust, and have been referring to other musical precedents in the flute literature: Carl Reinecke’s ‘Undine’ Sonata, and even more significantly ‘Syrinx’ by Claude Debussy. The latter piece in particular is an interesting paradox: the sensuous and nostalgic character of this music is at odds with the barbaric act that it reminisces: the nymph Syrinx, terrified of the obsessed Pan, transforms herself into reeds, and is subsequently hacked to pieces by the raging god. While Debussy’s solo piece dwells on the aftermath of Lust, my new work will focus more on the sinister machinations that lead to such circumstances. This new piece will likely be written for alto flute (to capture the darker, menacing intentions of Lust), and while I expect this piece to be unquestioningly sensuous, this writing will be juxtaposed with extended techniques — such as percussive effects and vocalizations from the flutist — as a means of demonstrating the potential for Lust to precipitate violence. 150 The final version of Morlock’s solo flute piece ended up being different than either of her earlier conceptions, though it contains aspects of both. She entitled the work  148  To date, I conversed with you in a dream has also been performed by flutists Kathryn Cernauskas, Christie Reside, Paolo Bortolussi, and Michelle Cheramy. 149 Jocelyn Morlock to Canada Council for the Arts, 12 September 2010 (letter outlining the proposed commission), author’s personal collection, Vancouver. 150 Jocelyn Morlock to Canada Council for the Arts, 13 January 2011 (letter outlining the proposed commission), author’s personal collection, Vancouver.  98  L — for “Lust”, but also as a play on the French word “elle” — and scored the work for solo alto flute. Morlock’s previous experience with the flute — including a short period in her childhood when she learned to play the instrument — was more than adequate to allow her to write with minimal consultation. What’s more, my professional relationship with her has been extensive enough that many extended techniques in L leave considerable creative license to the performer: instructions to play “any available obnoxious multiphonic” or to sing “badly, any octave” are clear indications of her trust. The collaborative aspect of L emerged with my interest in non-musical areas, specifically theatrics, choreography, gender roles, and sexuality. L kaleidoscopically (and often irreverently) addresses these interests, tipping the hat to various sources, including the Bible, Debussy, Bizet, Ravel, fellatio, and even Marilyn Monroe, and creating a theatrical and often comic atmosphere. While composing L, Morlock envisioned contrasting musical characters in sharp juxtaposition and labeled these in her early drafts of the piece with descriptive subtitles. Most of these subtitles remain in the final version:  1. “Comfort”, Mm. 1 – 8. Includes whispered text from the Song of Solomon: “Comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love”. A “sighing” motif (pitch bends with embouchure) is introduced, which recurs throughout the piece in various permutations. 2.  “Languid”, Mm. 9 – 36. This section is also accompanied by a quotation from the American writer Theodore Dreiser: “It was hot, yet with a sweet languor about it”. These words are not meant to be spoken by the flutist but rather to help establish a mood for the performer. The writing in this section is primarily lyrical, with occasional fits of shorter, angular outbursts. Notably, there is a direct quote from Ravel’s Bolero, which the flutist must sing and play simultaneously.  99  Example 32 — Bolero quote in L, mm. 26 – 29. 3. “Satyr”, Mm. 37 – 109. The longest and most substantial part of L. The material is for the most part chromatic and sensuous, with multiple references to Debussy’s Syrinx. Gradually the writing becomes more fragmented and angular. A descending chromatic staccato figure at M. 47 and again at Mm. 67 – 68 hints at Bizet’s “Habanera” from Carmen, and a fragment of the Bolero quote (including singing) is revisited briefly in M. 70. An earlier version of L contains the subtitle “Tango” in M. 57 — presumably ending at M. 65, at which point more fragmented material is introduced. While the “Tango” subtitle was removed from the final score, both versions include the marking “with excessive rubato.” Mm. 57 – 65 are the last instances of extended lyrical writing in the piece.  100  Example 33 — “Tango” section from L, mm. 57 – 64. 4. “Marilyn”, Mm. 110 – the end. The piece culminates with a theatrical act at M. 109. After a trill on a concert A5 with a crescendo to fff and the specification to hold the trill “as long as possible”, Morlock writes “lick the flute (or at least think about it)”. The flutist follows this with whispering the words “Happy birthday, Mister President”, and the piece ends with a conspiratorial look at the audience (“if so inclined, look conspiratorially at the audience”).  Example 34 — L, final two systems.  While the intention of these final lines is to be humourous, they are, in Morlock’s mind, intrinsically connected to the opening quote from the Song of Solomon. “I know everyone says that [the Song of Solomon] is about one’s love for God… but it also seems to be a very lustful thing. There’s jealousy, lust…. And the descriptions of the beauty of the loved one are quite… earthly. But the words ‘Comfort me with apples, for I am sick  101  of love’ — it doesn’t mean he’s tired of love, it means he’s sick from love.”151 Therefore, the final lines “Happy birthday, Mister President” can be seen as a “blatantly lascivious” distillation of the opening biblical lines, stripped of any pretense. “If you’ve seen that clip [of Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to U.S. President John F. Kennedy], you know that it was the most shameless proclamation of lust — she was sewn into that dress.”152 In addition, Morlock addresses more complex issues of gender and sexuality in this final passage. Beyond the obvious comedic element, the licking of the flute is an overt reference to the act of fellatio — and when executed by a male flutist (as it was) the gesture becomes a specifically homoerotic act. Moreover, Marilyn Monroe remains a major gay icon and a popular persona in many drag queens’ repertoire.153 Morlock’s inclusion of both these elements subtly and playfully addresses the fact that there are certain gender and sexuality stereotypes associated with the flute. In present day North American society, professional flutists tend to be predominantly female. While male flutists are not uncommon, the whole sexual context of their instrument has changed over the last fifty years. Today, the flute is viewed as a “girl’s instrument” in high school bands, and male flute players are often assumed to be homosexual. While L can certainly be performed successfully by flutists of either gender and of any sexual persuasion, the “camp factor” of the finale could arguably have been conceived as a vehicle for a gay male flutist. Morlock agrees that L could be performed by others but admits that she envisioned it as a vehicle for its dedicatee, as it was tailored to showcase specific extra151  Jocelyn Morlock, interview by author, digital recording, Vancouver, 22 August, 2011. Ibid. Monroe famously sang “Happy Birthday” at Kennedy’s forty-fifth birthday party in 1962. 153 Jim Bailey, Christopher Peterson and Jimmie James are all examples of popular Marilyn Monroe impersonators (both active and retired). 152  102  musical qualities. She states that the success of the piece is not so much dependent on the calibre of the flutist so much as “someone who could also be theatrical”.154 When asked about the possibility of people of other genders/sexual orientations performing L, Morlock felt that a female flutist could perform the piece successfully (“so long as they don’t mind licking the flute”155). In fact, the final page of L could even be as or more effective with a female performer, though considerably different than Morlock’s original vision of the piece. The simulation of fellatio would potentially lose the camp factor, and become “arousing, or appalling — or a little of both, which is perfect!”156 This is not the first time that a musician’s gender has informed a piece of music. Toru Takemitsu’s Voice for solo flutist derives much of its inspiration from Japanese Noh theatre, and the use of the flutist’s voice in this piece is directly influenced by the vocal techniques employed by male musicians in Noh. In the 1980s, Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote a number of solo pieces for the Dutch flutist Kathinka Pasveer. In addition to the technical difficulties present in these scores, there are various extra-musical requirements, such as special costumes and ritualistic choreography, much of which is gender-specific. More locally, the Canadian composer Rodney Sharman composed a piece for vocalizing pianist entitled The Garden, in which a male pianist recounts his first time in a gay sex club. And in all three instances, these works have been embraced by unlikely champions. Takemitsu’s Voice has been performed and recorded by the female flutist Claire Marchand;157 pianist Rachel Kiyo Iwaasa has performed Sharman’s The Garden on a number of occasions in drag; and I have had the privilege of performing the North 154  Jocelyn Morlock, interview. Ibid. The action of licking the flute is, in fact, optional in the score. 156 Ibid. 157 Claire Marchand has recorded Voice on the CD Twentieth Century Works for Solo Flute (ATMA Classique ACD22175). 155  103  American premiere of Stockhausen’s Ypsilon for solo flute — and the first performance ever by a male flutist — after re-envisioning the piece through a male lens.158 In the case of Morlock’s L, there is nothing insurmountable from a technical standpoint, rather, the success of the piece depends on a sense of theatrics, stage presence and even selfdeprecating humour — things that admittedly come more-or-less second nature to me as a performer. While any other flutist of ability could technically execute L, the nonmusical demands necessitate a level of involvement that goes above and beyond what is typically expected of classical instrumental performers.  * * * * *  My study of Robert Aitken’s career in the previous chapter has led me to conclude that major differences exist between our respective dialogues with composers. Firstly, there is the issue of money. While money can often be an ugly topic in music, Aitken claims that the three commissions by Cage, Crumb and Carter were written without thought of remuneration. There are a number of possible reasons for this. First, by the 1980s Aitken was an internationally respected musician, and it is entirely possible that these composers were moved to write for him based solely on his musical expertise, boundless enthusiasm, and the fact that he could secure numerous performances of their works. Also, Cage, Crumb and Carter were all at the heights of their careers when they wrote for Aitken, and all three were in financial positions to entertain a commission for a friend without monetary recompense. 158  The performance of Ypsilon was the result of a paper I wrote in 2004 entitled “Ypsilon: A Masculine Revision”.  104  By contrast, none of the three works discussed in this chapter could have come into existence without funding. All three were the recipients of government financial assistance: the creation of Jeffrey Ryan’s Yūrei was due to an Individual Project Grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, while both James Maxwell’s and Jocelyn Morlock’s commissions were funded by grants from the British Columbia Arts Council. The level of competition for government support of music commissions is very high, and as such, the process of securing funds can be the most challenging and frustrating part of commissioning any composer. Successful applications, however, result in a more cherished and hard-won relationship with the works I commission. Furthermore, the act of securing a composer’s fee to some degree permits me to contribute a modicum of input that, to be honest, was perhaps lacking in Aitken’s dialogues with Cage and Crumb. Aitken notes that both Cage and Crumb had surprised him with their announcements to compose new works for him. While such unanticipated news would rightfully thrill any flutist with even a passing interest in contemporary music, Aitken was in the somewhat awkward position of being unable to advise on even the most basic musical parameters — such as instrumentation — let alone the subtleties of extended flute writing. In addition to this, geography, not to mention the varied schedules of four busy musicians, thwarted extensive dialogue between flutist and composer. Face-to-face meetings were rare pleasures, and any collaboration took place primarily through letters, faxes and phone calls. My discourse with Ryan, Maxwell and Morlock, by comparison, was much easier. As all four of us presently call Vancouver home, our meetings were extensive and touched on a multitude of areas. Each composer wished to experiment with palettes  105  beyond the conventional lexicon of flute playing without distorting his or her personal style. But beyond this, these pieces demonstrate a thorough understanding of the performer for whom they are written. In all three cases, techniques that are of particular personal interest to me have been exploited: spoken word, percussive effects, shakuhachiinspired writing and theatrics are all aspects of avant-garde flute writing for which I have particular affinity. To this end, performer-composer dialogue was of paramount importance.  106  Conclusion  The careers of Aitken and Gazzelloni are particularly appropriate and inspiring models with regard to my own work as an interpreter of new music. It is significant to note that both Aitken and Gazzelloni were dependent upon specific music organizations as a primary means of establishing contact with composers and premiering new works. For Gazzelloni, the Darmstadt Ferienkurse was his arena, along with the Venice Biennale; in the case of Aitken, New Music Concerts was established for the specific purpose of providing him a base of operations to work with such composers as Cage, Crumb and Carter, not to mention the administrative and financial infrastructure to present their music to the highest international standards. Being the Co-Artistic Director of his own music society afforded Aitken a certain degree of creative control over the projects he mounted and the composers he worked with, a liberty that Gazzelloni arguably did not enjoy to the same degree. However, the founding of a non-profit arts society, while allowing for greater artistic control, is not without its pitfalls. Aitken bemoaned how New Music Concerts would take up “twothirds of my energy and at times four-fifths of it”.159 Money is also an issue. Aitken admits that “there have been many years when New Music has cost me money… I use my income from master classes to support [New Music Concerts]. I don’t think people realize that.”160 Gazzelloni, having no administrative role at the Ferienkurse, was likely at the mercy of Darmstadt programming committees in the selection of the enormous amount of music he performed at the Ferienkurse between 1952 and 1966. Whether he 159 160  Robert Aitken, phone interview. Ibid.  107  objected to any of these pieces, or whether he indiscriminately performed whatever was placed before him, is not clear, but his repertoire choices at the Venice Biennale, where he appears to have had a freer hand in programming, most likely reveal those works that were closest to him. Among these was Fukushima’s Mei which, despite being written in commemoration of Wolfgang Steinecke, received its premiere performance in Venice and its second performance at Darmstadt. Another defining feature of Gazzelloni’s and Aitken’s careers is their diversity. From an extremely young age Aitken had already established himself as an orchestral musician and could have easily maintained an active and artistically rewarding career as such. However, his interest in all facets of music led to a multifarious career that includes contemporary music performance, conducting, and composing. Likewise, by the time Gazzelloni had become a fixture at Darmstadt, he had secured fame throughout Italy as an orchestral flutist, and as a performer of jazz and pop. While his preoccupation with the latter two music genres would have certainly perplexed some of his Darmstadt colleagues, the Italian flutist would find an ally in none other than Berio himself, whose music often reflected the influence of jazz, folklore and pop. It is therefore hardly surprising that Berio would also recognize the value of musicians who understood the role of avant-garde music in a greater context, going so far as to proclaim “I’ve no interest in, or patience for those who ‘specialize’ in contemporary music”.161 It becomes clear that Gazzelloni and Aitken ultimately benefited from their multifaceted careers. Gazzelloni’s background in popular music provided him with a palette of artistic expression that lay beyond the rigid parameters of classical music tuition, and the  161  Osmond-Smith, 91.  108  showmanship to convince listeners of the validity of even mediocre compositions. Aitken’s association with New Music Concerts allowed him to mount elaborate works for flute, such as Crumb’s Idyll for the Misbegotten. Even though Crumb wrote the piece for free, Aitken had the means to hire first-rate musicians, rent percussion equipment, and present the piece in a publicized concert series with a devoted following. In addition to his position as flutist and concert producer, Aitken also occasionally acts as a conductor for New Music Concerts, enabling him to bring a more diverse range of new works to the public. Between Aitken and Gazzelloni, my own career would seem to share more parallels with Aitken’s: we are both Canadian; we received most of our initial training in North America; we both have dedicated a significant part of our respective careers to the music of our time; and we both run non-profit music societies whose primary mandate is the presentation of new music. The establishment of the Redshift Music Society in 2004 with Jordan Nobles provided a valuable outlet for me to present the music of Canadian composers in both unique public music events and traditional concert productions, and allowed me not only to commission new works for my own instrument, but for a variety of ensembles, including choir, brass ensemble, percussion ensemble, and various smaller ensembles, with or without flute. However, as with New Music Concerts, administration takes up a significant portion of my time. Redshift Music Society is a significantly smaller operation than New Music Concerts, but while our productions are less numerous, they demand much time and effort for only three part-time staff: myself, Nobles, and production manager Benton Roark. Moreover, funding is such that the three of us cannot afford to pay ourselves wages that would be considered even remotely fair  109  for our administrative efforts, while our fees for artistic work, such as performing or composing, are often donated back to the organization. As a result, the very reason that Aitken and I created our respective societies — i.e., to provide ourselves with more opportunities to perform new music — becomes compromised by the sheer bulk of administrative commitments that such projects require. Aitken commented on the time and effort he has invested into New Music Concerts at the expense of his performance career: “If I [had] put the energy into my own solo career, I was always curious to know what would have happened.”162 However, much of Aitken’s solo career, including repertoire choices, would have been at the mercy of other presenting organizations, many of which have little or no interest in promoting contemporary music. While Europe already had venues such as the Ferienkurse in Darmstadt dedicated to the performance of experimental compositions, no such resource yet existed in English-speaking Canada. The founding of New Music Concerts therefore provided Aitken with a much-needed arena in which he could programme and perform new music, as well as a Canadian outlet for experimental contemporary composers to have their work presented and appreciated. As with Aitken and New Music Concerts, my relationship to the Redshift Music Society is at times ambivalent, due to the large amount of grant writing, production details, budgeting, and other “non-artistic” obligations. Redshift, though, has also been responsible for providing a platform for some of the most rewarding performances I have given: my solo programme, Seven Deadly Sins; Sea to Sea, a collaboration between the Tempest Flute Ensemble and ECM+; and several programmes with Tiresias, including  162  Ibid.  110  Delicate Fires, which presented new works by Jennifer Butler, Jocelyn Morlock and Rodney Sharman. Of the three works discussed in the final chapter of this thesis, Maxwell’s limina and Morlock’s L both received their premiere performances on concerts produced by Redshift. Maintaining a balance between administration and performance (which includes sufficient time to practise and rehearse for these events) has become the primary challenge for me in recent years. With regard to repertoire, it is worth mentioning the sheer variety of music embraced by both Gazzelloni and Aitken. Both flutists championed the works of numerous composers, both past and contemporary. While many flutists who specialize in contemporary music are intrinsically associated with a single composer — Kathinka Pasveer with Karlheinz Stockhausen, Camilla Hoitenga with Kaija Saariaho, and (to a lesser degree) Roberto Fabbriciani with Salvatore Sciarrino — it is a testament to the consummate artistry of Gazzelloni and Aitken that they embraced a wide variety of music by a number of stylistically disparate composers. Moreover, both flutists have enjoyed high esteem as interpreters of older music. Gazzelloni received critical acclaim for his recordings of Vivaldi’s flute concertos on Deutsche Grammophon, while Aitken’s extensive discography includes recordings of Mozart’s flute concertos and the flute music of the 19th-century salon composer Albert Franz Doppler. It is in this final regard that the examples set by these two musicians are particularly relevant to my own development as a flutist and interpreter of contemporary music. Maintaining a diverse interest in the multitude of styles that presently define the Canadian compositional landscape has not only enriched the programming of Redshift’s concert seasons but has also strengthened me as a performer. The microtonal music of  111  Justin Christensen, the minimalist works of Jordan Nobles, and the unapologetically tonal compositions of Christopher Kovarik have all fortified my musicianship and have informed how I approach any new composition. Furthermore, my interest in the music of other epochs and cultures has invariably enhanced my work with contemporary composers. Jocelyn Morlock, for example, has stated that my performances of J.S. Bach’s flute sonatas were among a number of reasons that she decided to write for me. In addition, my ongoing interest in the fusion of Asian and Western musical performance practices was a major factor in Jeffrey Ryan’s decision to have his piece Yūrei informed by various Japanese elements.163 While the North American musical landscape seems ever more dominated by specialists, Gazzelloni and Aitken provide the template for a performance career that is rich, challenging, and replete with variation.  163  Jeffrey Ryan, interview.  112  Bibliography Books, Theses, and Articles Artaud, Pierre-Yves. “Aspects of the Flute in the Twentieth Century.” Contemporary Music Review, vol. 8, part 2 (1994) : 131 – 216. Bartolozzi, Bruno. New Sounds For Woodwind. Second edition. London: Oxford University Press, 1982. Beal, Amy C. “David Tudor in Darmstadt.” Contemporary Music Review, vol. 26, no. 1 (2007) : 77 – 88. Bernstein, David W. and Christopher Hatch, eds. Writings through John Cage’s Music, Poetry, and Art. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2001. Borchard, Beatrix. “Joachim, Joseph.” Grove Music Online. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 12 May 2010. Bruns, Steven and Ofer Ben-Amots, eds. George Crumb and the Alchemy of Sound: Essays on his Music. Colorado Springs: Colorado College Music Press, 2005. Carter, Elliot. “Flute Concerto (2008): Composer’s Notes.” Boosey & Hawkes. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 19 December 2011. Dick, Robert. The Other Flute: A Performance Manual of Contemporary Techniques. Second edition. St. Louis: Multiple Breath Company, 1989. Fleming, Richard and William Duckworth, eds. John Cage at Seventy-five. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1989. Garrison, Leonard L. “Three Late Works by Elliot Carter: An Analysis and Flutist’s Performance Guide.” D.M.A. diss., Northwestern University, 1992. Halfyard, Janet, ed. Berio’s Sequenzas: Essays on Performance, Composition and Analysis. Hampshire/Burlington: Ashgate Publishing, 2007. Hearn, Lafcadio. Japanese Lyrics. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2007. Knopke, Ian. “Form and Virtuosity in Luciano Berio’s Sequenza I.” M.A. diss., University of Alberta, 1997. Kostelanetz, Richard. Conversing with Cage. New York: Limelight Editions, 1988.  113  Lee, Chung-Lin. “Analysis and Interpretation of Kazuo Fukushima’s Solo Flute Music.” D.M.A. diss., University of Washington, 2010. Lin, Hsiao-Chieh. “George Crumb’s Chamber Music for the Flute: An Overview with an Analysis of An Idyll for the Misbegotten.” D.M.A. diss., University of Washington, 2009. MacMillan, Rick. “Aitken’s Artistic Side Still Hampered by Administration.” The Music Scene, 301 (May/June, 1978) : 13 – 14. Margles, Pamela. “Multi-Faceted: Robert Aitken.” The WholeNote. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 20 November 2010. Osmond-Smith, David, ed. Luciano Berio: Two Interviews with Rossana Dalmonte and Bálint András Vargas. London: Marion Boyars, 1985. Petrucci, Gian-Luca and Maurizio Benedetti. Severino Gazzelloni: Il flauto del Novecento. Trans. Karolina Piotrowska. Napoli: Flavio Pagano Editore, 1993. Pritchett, James and Laura Kuhn. “Cage, John.” Grove Music Online. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 20 November 2010. Rampal, Jean-Pierre and Deborah Wise. Music, My Love. New York: Random House, 1989. Ryan, Jeffrey. “Biography.” Jeffrey Ryan, Composer. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 20 November 2010. Schiff, David. “Carter, Elliot.” Grove Music Online. On-line. Available from Internet,, accessed 19 December 2011. Schwarz, Boris. “Joachim and the Genesis of Brahms’ Violin Concerto.” The Musical Times, vol. 69, no. 4 (1983) : 503 – 526. Steuermann, Edward. The Not Quite Innocent Bystander: Writings of Edward Steuermann. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. Strickland, Edward. American Composers: Dialogues on contemporary music. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991. Vaccarone, Alessandra. Riflessi d’un flauto d’oro: Severino Gazzelloni e la letteratura flautistica contemporanea (1952-1980). Trans. Karolina Piotrowska. Siena: Riverberi Sonore, 2002.  114  Watanabe, Mihoko. “The Essence of Mei: An Exploration of the Inspiration behind Mei through Interviews with the Composer.” The Flutist Quarterly, 33, no. 3 (2008) : 16 – 24. Interviews Aitken, Robert. Interview by author, 28 December 2009 Maxwell, James Beckwith. Interview by author, 20 January 2011. Morlock, Jocelyn. Interview by author, 22 August 2011. Ryan, Jeffrey. Interview by author, 17 November 2010. Musical Scores Bach, Johann Sebastian. Partita solo pour la flute traversière, BWV 1013. Munich: G. Henle Verlag, 1990. Berio, Luciano. Sequenza per flauto solo. Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, 1958. Berio, Luciano. Sequenza I per flauto solo. Vienna: Universal Edition, 1992. Boulez, Pierre. Sonatine pour flûte et piano. Paris: Éditions Amphion, 1954. Cage, John. Ryoanji for flute. New York: Edition Peters, 1984. Carter, Elliot. Scrivo in Vento. New York: Boosey & Hawkes Music Publishers Ltd, 1991. Crumb, George. An Idyll for the Misbegotten. New York: Edition Peters, 1986. Crumb, George. Night of the Four Moons. New York: Edition Peters, 1971. Crumb, George. Vox Balaenae for three masked players. New York: Edition Peters, 1972. Fukushima, Kazuo. Mei per flauto solo. Milan: Edizioni Suvini Zerboni, 1966. Hosokawa, Toshio. Vertical Song I. Tokyo: Schott Japan Company, 1997. Maxwell, James Beckwith. Charis for flute, clarinet and cello. Unpublished. Provided by the composer, 1998.  115  Maxwell, James Beckwith. Limina for flute, piano and percussion. Unpublished. Provided by the composer, 2008. Maxwell, James Beckwith. Vovere for flute and chamber orchestra. Unpublished. Provided by the composer, 2010. Morlock, Jocelyn. I conversed with you in a dream. Vancouver: The Avondale Press, 2007. Morlock, Jocelyn. L for solo alto flute. Unpublished. Provided by composer, 2011. Ryan, Jeffrey. Yūrei. Unpublished. Provided by the composer, 2010. Saariaho, Kaija. Laconisme de l’aile. Hämeenlinna: Jasemusiikki Oy, 1982. Toru Takemitsu: Itinerant in Memory of Isamu Noguchi. Tokyo: Schott Japan Company Ltd., 1989. Takemitsu, Toru. Voice for solo flutist. Paris: Editions Salabert, 1988. Varèse, Edgard. Density 21.5. New York: Ricordi & Co., 1956. Audio Recordings Artaud, Pierre-Yves. Contemporary Flute Music. NEUMA Records 450-77. CD. Berio, Luciano. Sequenzas. Ensemble Intercontemporain. Deutsche Grammophon 457 038-2, 1998. CD. Fukushima, Kazuo. Works for Flute and Piano. Eberhard Blum, flute and Stefan Schleiermacher, piano. Hat Hut Records, hatART CD 6114, 1992. CD. Marchand, Claire. Twentieth Century Works for Solo Flute. ATMA Classique ACD22175, 1999. CD. Stone, Dorothy. None But the Lonely Flute. New World Records 80456, 1994. CD.  116  


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