April 2 – Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Performed by
Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute
Winifred Goodwin, piano
Recorded by John Epps

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born on this day in 1873. Known both as a pianist and composer, his works exemplify Russian late Romanticism. The Vocalise, originally written for voice without words and piano, has been transcribed for countless instrumental combinations. The simple and poignant melody is supported by Rachmaninoff’s characteristic lush harmonic language that makes his style so attractive and recognizable.

April 10 – Etude #2 “Scherzando” by Jacques Castérède

Jacques Castérède was born on this day in 1962 in Paris, France. Romantic, but quite modern, his studies for flute can be very technical and rhythmic. His music is essentially melodic, often using modal scales over rich and varied rhythmic structures. This short and quirky etude has the dance-like qualities of a scherzando, but unexpected, multi-metered shifts create an unpredictable approach to the standard form. These studies are charming and work well as short stand alone performance pieces.

April 13 – Mollitude by Frederic Rzewski

Performed by Lauren Watkins (USC DMA ’16)

American composer and pianist Frederic Rzewski was born on this day in 1938. Mollitude for solo flute was composed in 2006 for Molly Barth, founding member of the new music sextet eighth blackbird. Mollitude showcases a wide range of possibilities on the flute from the lowest notes to the highest, fast virtuosic passages followed by extremely soft and delicate harmonic tones, and percussive sounds marked in the score as “(stomp)”.

April 26 – Silver Tunes by Erlund von Koch

Erlund von Koch was born on this day in Sweden in 1910.  He worked in several capacities as a musician:  composer of both concert and film music, professor, sound engineer and choir master. This piece, Silver Tunes, is in four movements that reference times of day: Dawn, Sun Dance, Twilight and Night Winds.  Von Koch composed every day, even into his 90’s, and his motto was to “keep the melody” – the beautiful melodies are written in ranges of the flute that allow them to sing easily, making these little pieces so satisfying to play!