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Flute Quartet No. 1.

Flute Quartet No. 1, by Gary Schocker. Theodore Presser Company (588 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia, PA 19406), 2003. 19 pp. $28.95. Advanced.

Scored for two C flutes (first doubling piccolo), alto flute and bass flute, this quartet is a set of five descriptive and colorful short movements. "Bird Inside These Monastery Walls," as the first movement is titled, features an occasional piccolo bird-song over a carpet of murmuring sixteenth notes, woven through a steady quarter-note pulse--perhaps the tread of the monks' footsteps. A playful, teasing "Intermezzo" is next, followed by "Theme and Variations," a bouncy simple theme with six cleverly crafted variations. The fourth movement, "Almost Perfectly Happy," is just that--a happy, whistle-able melody interrupted twice by subito forte interjections. The final movement, "Dress Me for the Festival," utilizes changing meters and scurrying eighth-notes to create a carnival atmosphere full of varied activities, sunny and colorful.

This fourteen-minute work was composed for the Los Angeles Flute Quartet, a professional ensemble, and was premiered in August 2003 at the National Flute Association Convention in Las Vegas. All four parts require experienced players. The first flutist must make quick changes between flute and piccolo. The bass flute has an especially prominent part, and the composer suggests that alto and bass players may exchange parts between movements to rest the arms and the embouchure.

Gary Schocker is a flutist, pianist and composer who has written many works for flutes, as well as piano pieces and works for other instruments. His summer master classes for flutists are held at a monastery on the Hudson River in upstate New York (hence, the reference to the bird within the walls). Schocker's musical imagination is boundless, and this quartet reflects his creative spirit, while providing a challenging but enjoyable musical experience for both players and listeners. Reviewed by Martha Rearick, Tampa, Florida.
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Author:Rearick, Martha
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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