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Three Mystery Pieces for Flute and Piano.

Three Mystery Pieces for Flute and Piano, by Gary Schocker. Theodore Presser Company (588 N. Gulph Rd., King of Prussia, PA 19406), 2003. 25 pp. $19.95. Advanced intermediate to advanced.

This piece, for flute and piano, was composed by Gary Schocker, who is a flutist, composer and pianist. He is a multiple award-winning composer who has written numerous compositions for flute and other orchestra instruments. He also has composed several musicals for adults and children, as well as many songs.

This work consists of three movements: I. Waiting for Nightfall; II. Moonlit; III. Romance 4018.

Each movement is dedicated to a flutist who has worked with Schocker. The composer also notes, "The flute is vocal throughout, it's long lyrical lines equally partnered in the romantic sweep of the piano. Each movement is progressively more syncopated, so that the last swings almost entirely on the off-beats. My title alludes to the unusual endings of all three pieces; they leave the listener suspended in midair (I hope)."

The range of the piece is from b3 to b6. There are key and time signature changes within movements. Students should be familiar with rhythms that inch*de dotted-eighth followed by two thirty-second notes and several syncopated rhythmic patterns. Successful performance of this work requires a moderate to advanced sense of lyrical line, fluid mastery of third octave fingerings and a working knowledge of accidentals, including double sharps (x). Proper breath support when adhering strictly to tempo markings may be difficult for some less experienced flutists. Some sections are marked "non vib" to indicate no vibrato. This marking leads us to assume vibrato is expected in other portions of the work. The character of the melodic lines lends themselves easily to a style of expression that includes vibrato and may be beneficial for students with a developing vibrato--particularly in the third octave.

The nature of the piece includes very melodic writing with a singing quality to the lines. At times, the melodic and harmonic lines seem almost "pop" or "Broadway musical" sounding. This may appeal to students who are unaccustomed to performing contemporary music and may be useful prior to introducing music with less immediate tonal appeal. Also, students who are developing tone and expression in the third octave may be drawn to these melodic patterns that sometimes are performed in more than one octave or tonality during the movement.

Editorial markings are clear and contain reasonable expectations regarding dynamic contrasts and style considerations. Precise tempo markings are listed. Students at the advanced-intermediate to advanced levels will enjoy this piece. Because of Schocker's background as a pianist, the accompaniment is more interesting than some others available for flute literature at this level. Further information regarding the piece and composer can be found at Reviewed by Alice Hammel, Richmond, Virginia.
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Author:Hammel, Alice
Publication:American Music Teacher
Date:Apr 1, 2004
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