Nase Cesta (Our Journey) for Flute and Piano
- Editor's Choice
This unusual piece by Geraldine Mucha really does feel like a journey as the structure is episodic in nature. An expansive opening section contrasts with a 5/8 piu mosso to give the feeling of travel to an exciting place. These continue to alternate until the journey comes to a longer pause with an expressive Adagio. The piu mosso then speeds us back on our way to the opening theme which brings us home. The style of writing showcases both the melodic and tonal variety of the flute and the folk elements in the rhythm and harmony are fully supported by a sensitive piano accompaniment. This is a gem of a piece - don't miss it!
Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society
After bringing us the fabulous Fantasie by Fruhling, here is another find by Emily Beynon, which looks like a great addition to the flute and piano repertoire. Geraldine Mucha, daughter-in-law of the Chez designer and painter Alphnse Mucha, studied composition under Arnold Bax and William Alwyn at the Royal Academy of Music. Anyone familiar with the chamber works by these composers will know how beautifully colourful their writing is and their influence is clear in this piece. The final manuscript was completed in 2008.
One can immediately feel a strong rhythmic character throughout the piece. The juxtaposition of rustic, eastern European accented rhythms full of syncopation, with lilting (almost Pastorale) melodic lines, gives the performers a lot to enjoy in this piece. It starts quite bold in character with the flute dancing over a simple accompaniment in the piano. The piano joins in with bold accented rhythms before a mysterious piu mosso section in 5/8 and in the low register of the flute. There are constant shifts between melodic and rhythmic passages, which keep the listener on their toes. There is a moment of beauty and calm in the Adagio expressivo section before the piece hurries to its end, finishing in a similar character to the bold opening.
This piece looks great fun to play and combines beautiful melodic phrases with some more technical passagework, full of dynamic and register contrast. Whilst sounding impressive, I think Mucha exposes what the flute does well in a very idiomatic way. The edition is nicely laid out (despite a minor spelling mistake on the front cover), with only one slightly quick page turn to negotiate! I look forward to learning this piece and believe it is a very welcome addition to the repertoire for advanced players.
From the Publisher
A musicologist friend asked me if I knew either the composer or this piece. I didn't and this was my introduction to Nase Ceste and to Geraldine Mucha. I was immediately intrigued as it linked my lovel of Mucha (whose illustrations had decorated the walls of my student apartment in Paris with a former student of two British composers with whom I feel a strong connection; Arnold Bax and William Alwyn. I love the combination of colourful, rustic, Eastern European folk rhythms that she uses together with the pastoral, Scottish lilting and the often surprising harmonic twists and turns.
In this edition of Naše Cesta I tried to be as faithful as possible to the" final 2008 version "of the manuscript. Sometimes there are some extravagant details, for example in measure 52 the indication "piano" is on the second bar not before, and "Adagio expressivo" is clearly written in measure 117 not 116. Furthermore, in an earlier version of this piece, in measure 92 the third note was a sol, but in the 2008 manuscript it is clearly a la; the choice of the performer!
Performance duration (approx): 7.45
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).