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Staff Pick

“Anyone for a challenge?”

Chris Hankin Just Flutes staff member -
It's as well to listen to this piece before you try it as it is much more beautiful than it looks! A 'song' originally written for a Kingma system quarter-tone alto, this version can be played on a standard instrument giving us all the chance to have a go. The piece is based on an example of ancient Greek music, which, together with the modest array of contemporary techniques used, weave a colourful fabric of sound. Difficult but not impossible!

From the Publisher

Andromache's Recitativo, Aria and Subtext is a "song" for alto flute, where the words are played rather than sung. The original version is for Kingma System quartertone alto flute, and a version for standard, closed-hole alto flute, is also available, which has been appropriately modified to suit the instrument. The recitativo follows the example of ancient Greek music using the text as a basis for the notes and rhythm. The Aria moves away from direct use of speech-rhythm but still uses the number of syllables as a means of ordering the phrases. The text is then reflected by the music. The subtext is where the characters get to play out their "real" emotions. These are the thoughts of Andromache, Hermione and the Goddess Thetis, who are the main female characters of Euripides’ "Andromache". Andromache and Hermione are the victims of society and war, frustrated and hoping for something better in life. Thetis is the cold Goddess looking disdainfully at the situation.

Premiere: October 23 2010
Collaborations in Practice Led Research Conference, Leeds University, UK
Carla Rees – Alto Flute

Text reproduced with permission of The Society of Authors as the literary representative of the Estate of Philip Vellacott.

Difficulty guide: 9
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).

Item Details


  • Part 1: Alto Flute
Category: Unaccompanied Alto Flute Music
Publisher: Tetractys Publishing
Publisher's reference: 131518/1
Our Stock Code: 1342390
Media Type: Paperback