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The Roaring Twenties for Two Flutes and optional Piano

£13.49 £10.79
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Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society

This review first appeared in Pan, the journal of the British Flute Society and is reproduced with permission. Join the BFS: membership starts from £20 a year.

This fun and entertaining suite of pieces for flute duet with optional piano depicts a wild night out in the Roaring Twenties, with each of the three movements evoking a different dance style as the evening progresses, from a melancholy tango to a wild Charleston, to the memory of The Last Waltz on the way home. This would be an enjoyable piece for an intermediate to advanced duo from about Grade 6 up, although the middle movement is
more challenging.

The opening movement sets the scene of a tango in an elegant cocktail bar, with each of the flute parts taking turns to play the soaring legato melody and the clipped staccatos of the tango. There are brief solo moments in each part with room for a little soloistic rubato, but on the whole, the tango rhythm underpins this movement throughout. Though not fast, this will need some crisp staccato articulation to sound its most effective.

Onto The Midnight Charleston, its marking With Abandon! indicating that the music should be played with all the frivolity and energy that its namesake dance is known for. Although more technically challenging, the music is exuberant and fun; this movement would stand alone to make a perfect conclusion to a flute duet recital. There are a few tricky rhythmic patterns which would need some precise ensemble playing, but above all this movement demands characterful performance—there’s even a requirement for ‘foot stamping or other percussive choreography’!

The composer suggests that The Last Waltz is hummed whilst walking unsteadily home in the early hours, and while it’s not quite as tipsy as the programme note suggests, the music’s character is certainly a little tentative, as if someone were taking their steps carefully. As in the first movement, the two flute parts alternate between a steady waltz-like melody and delicate quaver accompaniment. The dynamic is generally quiet, and the music is more subdued than either of the previous two movements, with the effect of the waltz theme disappearing into the night at the end of the piece. The narrative of the music is clear throughout the suite, and is illuminated by the composer’s programme note, although for me, the final waltz feels a little anticlimactic after the raucous energy of the second movement.

Throughout the suite, the optional piano part fills out the harmony and supports the rhythmic patterns of the various dance styles. The majority of the interest is found in the flute parts however, and this would work perfectly well as an unaccompanied flute duet. The dance styles are clearly recognisable and appealingly presented throughout and make for a varied suite of pieces that both players and audiences alike will find interesting and enjoyable.

Laura Beardsmore

From the Publisher

This lively suite takes us on a wild night out in the Roaring Twenties. After a few
cocktails, serenaded by an elegant tango, we move to a raucous nightclub for that
latest dance craze, the Charleston, (complete with some foot tapping!) before tottering home a trifle unsteadily in the wee small hours, humming the strains of the last waltz. Originally conceived for unaccompanied flute duet, an optional piano part makes the suite more amenable to performance. A second version for three flutes and alto flute is an attractive alternative for groups.

Our Description

Also available for four mixed flutes

Performance duration (approx): 6'20

Difficulty guide: 6
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).

Movements

  1. The Cocktail Hour (Tango Elegante)
  2. The Midnight Charleston
  3. The Last Waltz
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Item Details

Instrumentation

  • Part 1: Flute
  • Part 2: Flute
  • Part 3: Piano
Category: Music for Two Flutes and Piano
Publisher: Wonderful Winds
Publisher's reference: DC008
Our Stock Code: 1491913
Media Type: Paperback - Score and parts (20 pages [score])