November 11 – A Tale of Four Dragons by Fang Man

A Tale of Four Dragons by Fang Man

To celebrate Chinese New Year, today we share a work by Fang Man, a Chinese-born composer. Fang is a prolific composer of both large- and small-scale works, including electro-acoustic music and opera, and she is currently a professor of composition at USC. Her music has been performed by such ensembles as the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Tokyo Philharmonic. Her piece A Tale of Four Dragons, commissioned by Mimi Stillman, is written for a solo flutist who also provides narration of the titular story, an ancient Chinese folktale, between sections of the music. The composition is excerpted for this video.

Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute and Mike Harley, narrator

November 16 – 8 Stücke by Hindemith

Paul Hindemith, born on this day in 1895, is one of the most significant composers of the early 20th century. His music is described in relation to musical movements including late romanticism, expressionism, and neoclassicism always putting his own spin on the values of each style. The 8 Pieces for solo flute demonstrate Hindemith’s depth of knowledge of the idiomatic tendencies of the instrument and his ability to craft beautiful and tonal melodies from non-diatonic pitch sets.

Performed by Emily Stumpf

November 21 – Impressions Exotiques 1. Idylle champêtre by Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Sigfried Karg-Elert, born on this day in 1877, was a German composer and organist who wrote several boundary-pushing works for the flute in addition to his many well-known works for organ and harmonium. While many flutists are familiar with his 30 Caprices for Solo Flute, Karg-Elert wrote eight other substantial works for the flute including Impressions Exotiques, all written between 1917 and 1919. His compositions for flute sought to exploit the full range of dynamics, colors, and technical capacity of the increasingly popular Boehm flute.

Performed by Jenny Davis, flute and Claudio Olivera, piano

November 29 – Flute Sonata in C Major by Gaetano Donizetti

Today we celebrate the birthday of Gaetano Donizetti, born in 1797. Donizetti was a leading composer of bel canto opera in the early 1800s and this piece clearly comes from a similar aesthetic. A rare piece of flute music from the early romantic period, this work shows off soaring melodic lines carried by brilliantly technical passages as only an opera composer can supply.

Performed by Sabrina Raber, flute and Qiaoni Liu, piano