This is one of three works, for flute (“Flutetics”), clarinet (“Clarinetics”) and saxophone (“Saxtetics”), which are all bravura explorations of the instruments’ technique.
“Flutetics” is a jazz-based exploration of flute technique in ten imaginative episodes which stretch the player’s skill and concentration to the limit, but also allow plenty of scope for expressivity.
After opening with a busy jazz ballad, double-tonguing hots up the tempo to launch a dizzying duet section, where virtuosic grace notes evoke the presence of an imaginary second player. Atmospheric flutter-tonguing is then blown apart by some wicked growling and spit-tonguing in a scary but exhilarating section influenced by Ian Anderson’s “Jethro Tull”. The return of the main theme provides a lyrical interlude before a final and dramatic coda, culminating in a “vicious” final four bars. Phew!!
“Flutetics” is also available in hard-copy from June Emerson Wind Music.
I’m speechless. This is fantastic music. An etude of the most challenging kind but, like the great studies of Bach, Debussy, or Bartok, this is completely captivating listening music. All the technique goes toward a committed (and wildly successful) musical end. The melodic sense is impeccable, even amidst the dazzling effects (like the illusion of two instruments in the duet for one passage), and rapidly flowing passagework. As with ‘Saxtetics’, the jazz feeling is strong, and brought out by sheer rhythmic energy and invention rather than patented jazz tricks of any kind. From this piece, Flautists can learn what their instrument can really do, orchestrators can learn the same, composers can learn how to construct a beautiful piece of music, with exemplary balance between the parts and logical flow (and with only a single line!). But most of all, anyone who loves music can hear once more what it sounds like at its most creative and joyous.
Dr. Michael Morse – Sibeliusmusic.com, 8th Apr 2003