Sadly, this is the last article I shall be writing for the Flute Focus printed magazine. I just love magazines and to have been part of a very polished and professional periodical for the last four years, about something which has been part of me most of my life, has been an absolute pleasure. I thank and congratulate Mary for her wisdom to start FF, and her energy and tenacity to have kept it going for all of us ‘Fluties’ around the globe to read, learn from and enjoy each other’s views. It has certainly made me realize what a wonderful music community we are part of. Thanks Mary for doing what you have done.
Happily, I am thrilled that she is continuing her work by bringing FF into the electronic world to start publishing on the World Wide Web – The Net. This means we can all stay in touch with each other, and continue to meet new faces, ideas, learn the histories, both old and new, of the varied instrument we all love, and I will enjoy sharing my views and music ideas.
I am currently playing in an orchestra convened expressly for the Gilbert and Sullivan light opera, Yeoman of the Guard, which is considered by all critics and experts of the genre to be their most dramatic, and the closest they came to creating a ‘grand opera’.
The Musical Director asked me to be part of the orchestra and gave me the part labeled Flute 1. A week later, the other flute player signed on, and given the book labeled Flute 2. It transpired she had worked with our MD before as Flute1 but as she had changed her name due to her recent wedding, it had taken him a while to track her down. Now I realize there are reasons why there is a hierarchy within conventional music sections and situations. First Flute often gets ‘the good bits’, and most of the playing, and Second Flute is so often written as the accompaniment, and particularly in scores such as this, their part often has less solos, and the player gets to sit ‘counting bars of silence’. So with the agreement of the MD, we shared both parts – sometimes I would play the First Flute parts and other times Second Flute, and vice versa. Our approach did nothing to upset the musical arrangements, nor did it affect the performance of any of the singers on stage. As this particular production was a touring venture, the seating of the orchestra changed quite a bit within the various theatres and orchestra pits, and thus so did the position of ours, and other musicians’ projected sounds. This did not affect the overall sound of the orchestra. Yes, ours was an unconventional decision, but it worked for us – we both enjoyed working in this shared style.
Recently I enjoyed working in a funk/jazz band situation where there were two of us jamming on our flutes with the rhythm section, and other instrumental soloists. Again, we both shared the geography of our instruments fairly and evenly. It was truly wonderful. At times, I would play high, and then we would swap. We would also mirror each other and weave our improvised parts through and around all the octaves. That was a particularly great night – one which will be remembered by all who were there, both the audience and the other musicians, for a very long time. It meant we could enjoy and share our individual sounds together. Finally, thanks again Mary and Maurice for everything and see you all next time, in Cyber Space.