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Sistine on Chablis

Inspired by Aaron Copland's "Duo for Flute and Piano," this major work is both an exciting and lyrical showcase for the advanced Flute player, making it suitable for contest or concert performances.

Sistine on Chablis

    • Contents: Piano Score and Flute (PDF)
    • Pages: 32
    • Duration: 9'40"
    • Grade: 5 / Advanced / LMusA (AMEB)
  • For most people, when we listen to music our imagination is inspired to roam far and wide. In this particular case, I had two melodies written down that I didn’t really know what to do with. The first melody made me think of the colour blue, and the second melody made me think of the colour yellow. The idea then came to me to place both the blue theme and the yellow theme in a concert piece for flute and piano.

    As the piece progressed, the inquisitive nature inside me set out on search of the nearest shade of blue and yellow that I’m reminded of when I hear each melody. The end result was a “Sistine” shade of blue, and a “Chablis” shade of yellow. You may see different colours when you hear the music, and I would be very interested to hear what you come up!

    “Sistine on Chablis” is structured in four distinct sections linked together by a series of short promenades for the soloist.

    After a brief introduction, the “Chablis” theme is heard from b. 4, which is soon followed by the “Sistine” theme at b. 14. Quasi off-stage harmonic work from the flute player at b. 22 transition us to another hearing of the “Chablis” and “Sistine” themes from b. 28, this time with more embellishment present in the flute part. A transition at b. 48 (similar to the use of Mussorgsky’s promenades in his “Pictures at an Exhibition”) links the first section to the second, which features deliberate fingering and key slaps from the soloist.

    B. 52 signifies new material which travels through a number of iterations, and is typified with scherzo-like figures for the flute player. B. 84 functions as a link for the soloist to connect the second section to the third.

    The third section (b. 88) hears the “Chablis” theme, this time played with harmonics, and supported by a wistful accompaniment from the piano. From b. 109, the meaning of the title is brought to fruition as we hear both the “Sistine” theme and the “Chablis” theme together. A solo promenade at b. 121 connects us to the last section.

    The final section from b. 121 is driven largely from the piano, leading us to a bold statement of the “Sistine” theme at b. 145, and a lush retelling of the “Chablis” theme from b. 148.

    The coda (b. 152) surges and winds down with brief moments of drama and relaxation, all directing us to the last bar which neatly ties the work up a combination of harmonics and flutter tonguing.


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