A String of Thoughts for Flute and Piano
- Staff Pick
- Editor's Choice
Tilmann Dehnhard is one of the most imaginative contemporary writers of music for the flute and this is another extremely good piece. The unifying factor is the note A for the piano which is constant throughout. Above this the flute weaves its magic with a mixture of elusive melodic fragments combined with a more rhythmic and jazz-influenced central section. All the required techniques are fully explained and it's all completely approachable and playable. The result is a piece that will be enjoyed by everyone - I've already bought my copy!
Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society
This wonderfully effective contemporary duo is very approachable, and would be a great introduction to extended sound and finger techniques. With such an attractive title, I was looking forward to playing through this piece. The music is challenging enough for players from Grade 8 and beyond who’d like to present and play in an alternative sound world to the standard classical one. Textures and chords are threaded together by the constant ‘A’ throughout the piece in the piano. This does give a kind of linear grounding at the centre of the changes of oscillation and activity in the flute and piano. There are moments of rest but more of exploration into simple quartertone and multiphonic gestures while the piano is prepared for the performer to get inside the body of the instrument and use the strings directly with the hands. The flute player is asked to use diffuse air sounds, singing, bisbigliandi through alternating fingerings for one note, and reverse playing which gives the effect of playing backwards, much like playing a recording in reverse. The cover is colourful and appealing, and from a first glance at the parts, I thought it was an interesting-looking duo. All the information my pianist and I needed was written out very clearly in the front of the piano part (perhaps the instructions could also be included in the separate flute part, especially for when the flute player needs to work without the pianist). The instructions were also written in a very friendly tone, offering advice and some tips on how to produce the effects that Dehnhard wanted in the piece. The only two queries we had were in the piano part: the octave change in the bass line could actually be written in treble clef from bar 77; it would be quicker for the pianist to read this than to negotiate the part and risk accidentally reading lower. There was also an instruction for the pianist at bar 168 to “Dampen string with hand and hit key, let ring”, but it was impossible without three hands…at least this is what was discovered when we played it. I enjoyed this work, and found the textures captivating. I’d recommend working on this if you’re interested in expanding your palette of the music of now. Dehnhard’s music is charismatic, very attractive and challenging in all the right ways.
From the Publisher
This piece was written for an open-hole flute with a B foot. To play the glissandi, an open-hole flute is your only option. Although the fingering charts depict a B foot, it is not absolutely necessary: all fingerings can be played with a C foot.
The main structural frame of this piece is a constantly played a'. Performs this music with rhythmic precision, so the effect of a 'perpetuum mobile' - note appears.
Performance duration (approx): 9'00
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).