Thursday, February 7, 2019

Gordon Jacob and his pigs...


Whenever we visited Gordon Jacob the first thing my children wanted to do was to sit on the big leather pig in his sitting-room. Gordon loved pigs and had an enormous collection: china, wooden, plastic - even a marzipan one that he couldn't bring himself to eat.
He was helping us to build our catalogue of pieces for young wind players, and it was the pigs that reminded him to introduce us to Alan Ridout, one of his ex-students at the Royal College of Music. Alan had written a piece for four bassoons called 'Pigs' as a gift to Gordon to add to his collection. Alan soon became one of our favourite composers.

Pigs eventually became Emerson Edition No.9. With a cover illustration by the legendary Bill Tidy it has remained a favourite since 1973

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Rehearsal Orchestra - London Weekend Courses


How would you like to play...

Stravinsky - Petrushka & Scherzo a la Russe
Dvorak - Carnaval Overture
Janacek - Sinfonietta (Oooh yes!)
Mahler - Das Lied von der Erde
Strauss - Ein Heldenleben
With a bunch of great players, under an excellent conductor
(with a good sense of humour), for a day of intensive work
with an open rehearsal at the end for your mates to come and listen?


The Rehearsal Orchestra


You'll love it!


Friday, January 11, 2019

British Flute Society Competition

British Flute Society

Competition for Young Flautists 2019



The closing date for entry is 22nd January 2019


School Performer

Open to flute players aged 13 and under on 31 August 2019. They should play a piece, or pieces, of their own choice lasting (including breaks) not more than 5 minutes.
Grade 5 or above

Young Performer

Open to flute players aged 14 - 18 years on 31 August 2019. They should play a piece, or pieces, of their own choice lasting (including breaks) not more than 7 minutes.
Grade 7-8 or above

Young Artist

Open to higher level players aged 19 - 24 years on 31 August 2019. They should play a piece, or pieces, of their own choice lasting (including breaks) not more than 8 minutes.
Grade 8 or above
More detailed information, and an online application form:

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.
Emma Resmini does the whole job herself, seamlessly.
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:

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)