Grand Fantasy on Rossini's Semiramide for Flute or Piccolo and Piano
- Highly recommended
Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society
Robert Stallman, the esteemed flute player and arranger who passed away in 2019, spent a year living in Italy at the age of seven. His love of opera remained for his entire career, which included a decade as first substitute flute at the Metropolitan Opera.
This fantasy is based on thematic material from Rossini’s Semiramide, an Italian opera seria which is full of bravura and moments of virtuosity. The well-known flute extracts all make an appearance, alongside more lyrical moments which allow the player to show a more expressive side. Several short and well-constructed cadenzas appear, allowing further moments of virtuoso display. The piano has a largely accompanimental role, but there a few exposed moments, especially in introductions and codas.
Despite the fast-moving nature of some of the melodies, the piece is not enormously difficult (the hardest passage is the well-known orchestral solo that appears often in extract books) and could be tackled by advanced students and experienced amateurs. The piece is constructed well, and has a logical sense of form which is akin to the typical Romantic fantasy. As such, it demonstrates Stallman’s mastery of musical understanding, as well as his affinity for both the flute and opera.
Stallman composed the fantasy in September 2018 as a wedding anniversary gift to his wife, Hannah. It encapsulates a sense of playfulness and would serve as an excellent encore piece. Recommended.
Performance duration (approx): 8'
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).