Thursday, December 13, 2018

BBC Music Magazine 1

Needle in Haystack



Looking for articles and reviews about music for wind instruments in the BBC Music Magazine is a time-consuming business  Not having much time I was delighted to find the word 'flute' on page 70 of the November issue. It was in a fascinating article about the Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho (b.Helsinki 1952). There was much superfluous stuff about her being female of course - the world of the media can't just call people composers and leave it at that.
I followed the links and listened to Noa Noa for flute and electronics. As the article said, her music is certainly 'imaginative and spellbinding'.


There are four recordings on YouTube. It is possible for the flautist to both play the piece and activate the electronics. Alternatively an assistant can do the activating, leaving the player free to interpret the score. I wonder which is the most satisfying, and would love to hear opinions from performers.
The performance by Jesse Tatum uses an assistant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50T6EiornP4
Emma Resmini does the whole job herself, seamlessly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5VKG8lQwB4
My next thought was 'Do we actually stock this piece?' and - yes - there it is on our website! Satisfaction all round!
June Emerson

Thursday, November 22, 2018

E7 Before and After

Ronald Hanmer


 
1917 - 1994

It was in the early 1970s that we first made contact with Ronald Hanmer, probably the most prolific composer of light music that has ever lived. "Ronald Hanmer throws tunes around like a man with ten arms" said one of his reviewers. We were looking for good music for young wind players, and we asked him whether he would do something for us. He eventually gave us four works, of which the most memorable was 'Suite for Seven' - which appropriately became Emerson Edition No.7.  It was scored for our Schools Wind Ensemble Series, and comprised four movements: Seven on Parade, a perky little march tune, a lyrical Song for Seven, then Three Plus Four, making it completely painless for youngsters to play in 7/4 time, and a cheerful Finale for Seven.
We met only once, and he was a neat person in a neat grey suit, very proper we thought. When he said he was moving to Australia in 1975 we were devastated, but happily our correspondence continued right through until 1994, the year of his death.


We were delighted to see that the relaxed atmosphere of Australia led to brightly coloured shirts and long hair - he blossomed there, and continued writing tunes to the very end. His most famous of that era was the theme music for the longest-running Australian television serial Blue Hills. Originally composed long before, as 'Pastorale' for the Francis Day and Hunter Mood Music library, he reworked it for the programme: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNWv35OxiOI

SUITE FOR SEVEN (score & parts)

E7 Suite for Seven - Ronald Hanmer

2 flutes, oboe, 3 clarinets, bassoon

Grade 3-4



Thursday, November 8, 2018

E6 Valse des Fleurs

Wye & Bennett - Doppler & Doppler


Spot the deliberate mistake?
It was on one of those extraordinary Canterbury music courses that I heard Trevor Wye and William Bennett play the delicious 'Valse des Fleurs' by Ernesto Kohler for two flutes and piano. We just had to re-publish it. It was then we found out that it was often played by the brothers Karl and Franz Doppler. They were a popular double-act, not only for their virtuoso playing but visually. As Karl was left-handed he played the flute in reverse...

Hence the cover design of E6

The joy of this piece is that, unlike many flute concert pieces of that period, it isn't too difficult, and can be played by Grade 5 students. They love it.

E6 Ernesto Kohler - Valse des Fleurs

Thursday, October 25, 2018

E5 and Notaset

Do you remember Notaset?


Back in the 1970s, when we first started publishing, we used the transfer system Notaset. Each note on the transfer sheet was placed on its correct line or space and then rubbed with a pencil (or a dead biro). Each symbol stuck itself on to the manuscript paper. It took hours...
The first, and last, work that I undertook was Emerson Edition No.5 Variations on a Dorian Theme for saxophone & piano by Gordon Jacob. Dear Gordon said it looked lovely, but I knew the spacings were extremely dodgy. After that we contracted the work out to professionals. You can imagine how happy we were when Sibelius was invented.
(E5 has been professionally re-engraved since then, by the way!)
June Emerson





Fortunately the piece proved popular and has been on various examination syllabus lists over the years.

E5 Variations on a Dorian Theme - Gordon Jacob


Gordon Jacob (1895-1984)



Thursday, October 4, 2018

Francis Baines

COMIC VARIATIONS




It was early in the 1970s that we received this little note:

"I heard my comic variations the other day for the first time and liked them and have accordingly sent the enclosed. Will you publish it? I don't want any money. Yours sincerely Francis Baines"

At the time, as well as looking for good music for young players, we were looking for pieces that were fun to play. It was still the era of Hoffnung cartoons and Fritz Spiegl broadcasts - classical music fun was in the air.
We decided to push our luck even further and ask the famous cartoonist Bill Tidy whether he would illustrate the cover for us. He produced the above, accompanied by a very modest bill. "I'll charge you  more when you're in Tin Pan Alley" he said.


Needless to say we did send him money, and the Comic Variations have been earning their keep, and making people laugh, ever since.


E4 Francis Baines - Comic Variations for clarinet & bassoon

Thursday, September 13, 2018

SAXOPHONES IN ARMENIA

Alexandr Manukyan - Professor of Saxophone
Conservatoire, Yerevan, Armenia

Alexandr (Sasha) Manukyan has been teaching at the Conservatoire in Yerevan for many years. At the moment he has 39 students, and the level of their accomplishment is astounding. The Alma Saxophone Quartet is named after the first letters of his name, and 'my boys' can be seen and heard on the following links:

Rimsky Korsakov - Flight of the Bumblebee

Bach - Italian Concerto

Thierry Escaich - Tango Virtuoso

Alexandr is often on the juries of international saxophone events, particularly the Selmer Paris Saxophone Competition. He enjoys friendships with saxophone specialists worldwide, and is always interested to hear what other people are doing. He was  particularly impressed recently with the playing of our own Young Artist Jess Gillam, seen here rehearsing for the BBC Young Musician competition last year:

Jess Gillam 2017


Alexandr Manukyan is on Facebook




Thursday, August 9, 2018

2018 Launchpad Prize Winners #2

Introducing...

Festivo Winds

(Royal Northern College of Music)



The Players

Leila Marshall - flute
Adam Bowman - oboe
Andy Mellor - clarinet
Sara Erb - bassoon
Thomas Edwards - horn

Biography

Festivo Winds are a dynamic group of young musicians from around the world who formed at the RNCM in December 2017. They are a strong group - each member has numerous personal accolades - and together they create a palpable sense of energy and fun. 

The ensemble specialise in the core quintet repertoire, whilst maintaining an interest in arrangements and new works. 

Festivo Winds are the winners of the 2018 Fewkes Woodwind Competition and the June Emerson Wind Music Launchpad Prize. The members are very excited to see what the future holds.


June Emerson Wind Music would like to thank Suzy Stonefield for organising 
the awarding of the Launchpad Prize at the Royal Northern College of Music.

Links

Festivo Winds

Royal Northern College of Music