|Off to the fair
A month highlighted by a visit to the Chicago flute fair. My girlfriend and I arrived around 11a, paid our money and then sat down to look at the program before looking around. First stop was the exhibitors' room which we really wanted to spend more time in to really take in everything that was there. I got to try two altos... a Di Medici and I forget the other one (this was the table near the nw corner of the exhibitor's room). One had a really difficult embrouchure cut and I couldn't get any of the notes under concert C out of it. The other played very easily and I was getting some nice low tones from it without much difficulty. Only one bass flute and there was always someone playing it every time we went in there so I never got to try that one. But an alto might be my short-term key to low register lust (hey, I cut my musical teeth in the bass clef (string bass, baritone, tuba) so I like those low notes).
We caught a few of the cafeteria foyer performances, although the space was not really very conducive to being able to really enjoy the performance. Pity, that.
Flutes Fantastique's workshop on starting a chamber group was interesting, focusing primarily on the business aspects of the task, though. I was hoping for a bit more on some of the musical aspects, although realistically, it's probably difficult to do that in the workshop setting. Still, I enjoyed the talk and look forward to catching them perform. Hearing them talk about difficulties acquiring material for repertoire has inspired me to start writing an arrangement of something for them, whether I can squeeze it in is another question entirely.
Thence to the masterclass with Thomas Robertello. This was my first masterclass experience, and I'm not sure if it's the way these usually go, but it was very interesting and informative. I also managed to catch a piece that I'd love to learn, F. Martin's Ballade.
This was followed by a workshop/performance on vocal technique applied to flute playing. Some of it I'd already been applying (i.e., vocal breathing technique applied to the flute), but the ideas on pharynx/larynx formation and its effect on tone quality were intriguing. I don't think that the choice of a beginning flute player to demonstrate the effects on tone quality was an effective choice, though, but it's worth trying on my own practice time to see if I can use it to alter my own tone quality. I'm also eager to try using the vowel sounds as part of my Roland Kirk-inspired sing-while-playing technique to see how that works. The performance that followed was marvelous and featured a delightful surprise. Paul French, who's a friend of mine from some church gigs, came to direct his Seven Joys piece as performed by the St Xavier choir and Flutes LTD. Flutes LTD, incidentally gave a phenomenal performance, and I'd recommend their concerts to any Chicago-area readers.
A brief return to the exhibit room culminating in the purchase of $30 worth of flute duets and flute/guitar pieces (giving me a chance to play some duets with the gf on a more even playing field... my guitar playing being far superior to my fluting).
Finally, back for Robertello's performance. Fantastic selection of mostly 20th c. classical. My girlfriend'd favorite piece was the Bach Sonata, but I liked the Schwantner "Black Anemones, Soaring". I would later pick up Thomas Robertello's CD, which is hard to get a hold of (not available from most sources, but it did turn up at Flute World.
Spent a bit of time working on the flute duets with my girlfriend afterwards. The Gileadi duet we picked up was really not very good, but she likes the Telemann canonic sonatas.