8 x 8: Dance Improvisation and Fugue for Flute (Piccolo or Recorder) and Piano

Douglas Townsend

About this work:
A small piece of the 30 minutes of music commissioned by Hans Richter for his classic surrealist film "8 x 8: A Chess Sonata for Film" which Richter wrote, directed, designed and produced, "with the aid of Jean Cocteau." The art film "8 x 8" premiered simultaneously in New York (Fifth Avenue Cinema), Paris and Hollywood, in March of 1957. (NYTimes 3/16/57)(NYPost 3/17/57). The publicity promised that the film "mixes equal parts of Freud and Lewis Carroll with Cocteau and bullfights, surrealism, magic and beautiful women." DANCE IMPROVISATION AND FUGUE was world broadcast premiered, before the film premiered, on WNYC in February of 1957, in its original version for recorder. The fugue in the piece uses a dance-like theme which has occurred in the improvisation. Towards the end of the fugue, the tune is played simultaneously upside down and right-side up. The work in its flute version had its first live performance on May 1, 2010, by Elise Carter, flute, and Laura Ravotti, piano (members of the trio Zinkali), in Eastchester, NY, at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church. (They subsequently performed it two more times at other NY venues on 9/11/10 and on 10/10/10.) The piccolo version was premiered by Carl Hall, principal piccolo player of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Sharon Berenson, piano, on September 25, 2004, at the Emory University Performing Arts Studio in Atlanta, Georgia (in a piccolo recital and workshop sponsored by the Atlanta Flute Club). The recorder version was premiered in the 1950's by the virtuoso recorder player Lanoue Davenport under the auspices of the American Recorder Society. The work is published by C.F. Peters.
Year composed: 1956
Duration: 00:02:30
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Keyboard plus One Instrument
Instrumentation: 1 Flute, 1 Piano
Instrumentation notes: Recorder or piccolo may be substituted for flute.
Purchase materials: www.sheetmusicplus.com

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