Thursday, March 20, 2008

Flute as Cello

A few years ago, I played Haydn's London Trios (2 flutes and cello) as first flute, with another flutist and a cellist. I love these trios (especially playing with the cellist, who was very good, despite not having changed his strings in 30 years. Well, ok, that part annoyed me, but my hints that his tone might be even better if he bought new strings fell on deaf ears).

I am working on the cello parts now, hoping to play the trios with the flute quartet (all flutes). I play both flute and cello in the group, but have not played cello with them all winter, because sometimes it is just easier to leave my big bulky instrument at home and take only a flute.

So, I found a version of the London Trios for 2 C flutes, alto flute and bass flute. Alto and bass play essentially the same part, the cello part. We have an alto flute in our quartet, but no bass flute, so, right now, I am playing the bass flute part on my C flute, which makes it an octave higher than it should be, but it sounds fine. I am also enjoying doubling the alto, I who generally prefer not to play doubled parts.

Oddly enough, the flute/alto flute is a reasonable substitute for the cello. It is also helpful in terms of reminding me of the tempos, the rhythms, etc., and so my playing of the music on my cello is benefiting. Eventually, the weather will warm up, and I will bring my cello to play with the group. I will still be doubling the alto flute, but, this way, all four of us get to play these lovely pieces, and it can be comforting to hear someone else playing the same part.

The cello parts are both relatively easy and interesting, and I love the flute parts; and it is fun playing a piece that I know the other parts to. Sometimes, in sightreading unfamiliar music with the other flute quartet (flute/violin/viola/cello), I am so intent on my part that I can't appreciate the others (or even recognize the piece from the upper parts), so I am enjoying this.


Marisa said...

I've attempted the London Trios on violin. It would be neat to try the cello part.

Maricello said...

Marisa, I think it is easier on the flute than on the violin, but I have a wonderful recording of flute, violin and cello (with Rampal, Stern, and Rostropovich). I think the cello part is quite playable, though not if you take the fast movements at the speed these players take them.

Marisa said...

Yes, those octave leaps are easier on the flute :) I have the score, maybe I'll do a little extraneous sight reading this weekend.

CelloGeek said...

I played the London Trios in a gig with 2 flautists after one of them had heard the recording and decided to take it at the same speed. We were actually able to play it that fast, believe it or not!

Maricello said...

Impressive, CelloGeek! Based on our first play-through, we are not going to do that. :-)

Marisa said...

It would be nice to hear a rendition of y'all playing the Trio with flutes. (hint, hint)

Maricello said...

Marisa, how about if I play flute, you play violin, and CelloGeek plays cello? Then we can smoosh our separate recordings together. Or we could meet in Kansas somewhere. :-)

Seriously, one of these days, I will record something and figure out how to put it online.

Marisa said...

We'll have to put in a request to the makers of Wii.

Virtual chamber music classic.

Create your avatar, invite other players, hook up your microphone, and hit play.