Sound & Repercussion

New music for solo flute

Linda Wetherill, Flute

Innova 312

 

CD with 12 Page Booklet

 

Prepare yourself for a redefinition of theflute, for you are about to experience a range of expression and color hithertounexplored through this revered instrument. Flutist Linda Wetherill has beenexploring for decades, and she has returned from her journeys with immeasurableriches, a mere fraction of which are encapsulated in this recording.

 Born in Milwaukee, Linda Wetherill graduated from the EastmanSchool of Music, having been awarded there the coveted Performer’s Certificate.The desire to expand her musical horizons prompted her to leave for Europe,where she became first a member of the Garbarino Chamber Ensemble in Milan,then principal flutist of the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. This prestigiousposition, however, did not satisfy all her evolving personal artistic needs,and two years later, when she learned that Pierre Boulez had just establishedthe “new music” center IRCAM in Paris, Linda auditioned and was appointed soloflutist of the resident Ensemble Intercontemporain. This move from essentiallymainstream chamber and orchestral playing to intensive interaction with many ofthe greatest contemporary composers of the world was a major turning point forher. Working directly with composers Boulez, Stockhausen, Halffter, Messiaen,Berio, Holliger and Kagel, she developed a prestigious and authoritative solorepertoire which carried her to European festivals and to NY’s Carnegie Hall topremiere Stockhausen’s Im Freundschaft as winner of East & West ArtistsInternational Competition.

 

Linda Wetherill is former principal flutistof Paris IRCAM and Frankfurt Radio Symphony. Born in Milwaukee, Linda graduatedfrom Eastman School of Music and did her graduate work at SUNY Stony Brook. Shetoured as soloist/cultural ambassador for USIS throughout Europe, Asia, andNorth Africa, collaborating with composers and basing in Turkey as guestprofessor from 1989-91. She is the first woman to have performed publicbroadcast concerts in Saudi Arabia; numerous premieres include Halffter'sDouble Concerto in Paris and Stockhausen's "Im Freundschaft" inCarnegie Hall as winner of New York’s East-West Artists competition. The NewYork Times heralds her as "really a marvelous player, both in terms oftechnical mastery and expressive elan.

 

The Impromptu for alto flute of SiegfriedMatthus was composed in 1984 and shows the influence of his musical life in thetheatre. He is primarily recognized as an opera composer, one whose sense ofdrama is marked by psychologically complex material, akin to his acknowledgedprimary influences: the Second Vienna School and Benjamin Britten. It is ofparticular interest how this aesthetic translates to a work for solo altoflute. Here we find a solo voice, a “character” if you will, commencing thework with three broad phrases ascending from the depths of the instrument’srange. The third culminates in a coloratura-like cadenza which subsides into acalm, “scene-painting” section marked by sustained harmonics and micro-tones,acknowledged by the composer to have, as source-material, thematic associationswith the boudoir of Strauss’s “Salome”. The following rhythmic/dramaticoutburst, to stretch the dramatic allusion, might be likened to an orchestralinterlude, with the work then reprising the scene-painting and solo-voicesections to close. Siegfried Matthus was born in 1934 in East Prussia. Hestudied in Berlin from 1952-58, then with Hans Eisler at the East GermanAcademy of the Arts from 1958-60, joining its faculty in 1969 and serving asits Music Director since 1972. He has been resident composer at the BerlinComic Opera since 1964.

 

Takemitsu’s 1971 Voice, in contrast to thelinear-dramatic unfolding of ideas in the Matthus work, is invested in themoment and the listener’s involvement in its elegance, articulation and timbralexquisiteness. (Other parallel but essentially dissimilar attitudes toward timeare to be found in Stockhausen’s “moment-form” and in Feldman’s“sound-erasing-sound” in which attention is focussed on the present.)Predominantly Asian in his aesthetic, Takemitsu looked for influence incomposers who had already synthesized the influences of non-westerncultures––Debussy, Webern, and Messaien––to create abridge to the Western listener. The “voice” in question is not that of theflute or the flutist, but a hybrid sensitively integrated here by Ms. Wetherillinto a sound-world curiously more spatial than temporal. Toru Takemitsu(1930-96) was born in Tokyo and was largely self-taught. He traveledextensively abroad, with a significant attachment to Paris, where he served asMusic Director of the 1970 World Exposition. He was teaching there, along withStravinsky and Stockhausen, at the time he composed Voice.

 

In Halffter’s own words “Debla denotes oneof the forms of the so-called Canto Grande. This is the purest manifestation ofthe Andalusian folk melody, a complex form of song, which is closest to themysterious origins of the folklore of Southern Spain. Its salientcharacteristics are: a) it is sung completely unaccompanied b) it consists ofextremely slow static sections followed by highly rhythmic and intense sectionsc) at the “climax” the singer beats out the rhythm by clapping, this serving asa contrast to the vocal line. d) The music makes use of quartertone intervals.I have included all of these features in the present work, although it was notmy intention to imitate or reproduce the Debla. Rather, I have based mycomposition on certain aspects and characteristics of this form of Andalusianfolksong while creating a work which exists in its own right and is conceivedexclusively for the flute.” Debla for flute solo was written in spring of 1980at the wish of Hans Werner Henze for the Montepulciano Festival. CristobalHalffter was born in1930 in Madrid, studying there at the Royal Conservatoryprior to advanced work at the Paris Conservatory. He taught at the Darmstadtsummer sessions and was affiliated with Boulez’s IRCAM during the time whenLinda Wetherill was in Paris. (She performed the premiere of this DoubleConcerto there under his super-vision.) Halffter is considered to be theleading Spanish avant-gardist of his generation.

 

Hymntunes IV: Imenetuki: Gospel Chant fromthe Cook Islands for solo bass flute (1995 Rev. 1998) is based on a simple twophrase chant found in the Cook Islands. This chant is actually a melody fromthe Hebrides called Eriskay Love Lilt, which was brought to the islands bymissionaries and then incorporated into native repertoire. Fruehwald explainsthat “variations on this phrase appear throughout the piece; a respondingphrase appears only near the end. Other material in the piece is based ondrumming patterns from various islands in the South Pacific. These drummingpatterns are generally started by certain rhythmic signals.” A dramatic work,from its tonguestops and key slaps used to imitate the sound of a log drum tothe rapid swirls of multiphonics, Linda Wetherill gave its world premiere atU.S. National Flute Association’s Atlanta Convention in ‘99 for a rapt assemblyof composers and players. Robert Fruehwald was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in1959. He studied at the University of Louisville, California Institute of theArts, and Washington University in St. Louis. He chairs electronic music andthe music department at Southeast Missouri State University. A flutist, he haswritten numerous pieces for flute utilizing extended techniques and developingupon ethnomusicological research.

 Vihaya for alto flute solo (1992) unfolds not unlike asitarist’s initial unmetered exploration of a raga, prior to the entry of thetabla player. It’s title taken from Hindu mythology, Vihaya is an accumulationof a few pitches lined up to form building blocks, turning over and over inmultidimensional space. This is music of stasis and intense minimalism, andArnaoudov finds a wealth of beauty in his free exploration of this ‘raga’.Gheorghi Arnaoudov, born in 1957 in Sofia Bulgaria, graduated from theVladigerov Academy there, continuing his studies in Italy and with BrianFerneyhough. He is equally at home in vocal, instrumental, concrete andelectronic music. He has researched extensively in the fields of ancient andFar-Eastern music. The roots of his personal style can be traced to Scriabin,Messiaen, Varese, Penderecki, and Part.

 

Reza Vali states “Most of my music isstrongly influenced by Persian folk music, which I have been studying,collecting, and composing for the past 19 years. Folk Song (1987) is in a setof an ongoing cycle of Persian folk songs, which I have been writing since1978. The pieces use the flute technique of simultaneous singing and playingexplored in this work. I’m fascinated with the timbre of the Middle Eastern‘Nay’ and in all of my flute pieces try to recreate this timbre of wooden(bamboo) flutes of Persian folk music. The musical materials of Folk Song arederived from Persian folk music and intermingled with the atonal syntax ofWestern music.” Critics have called his result “urgent, cogent and tautlydramatic, ranging in mood from childlike simplicity to near terrifying force,with sensuous and beautiful sonorities––a highly successful blendof Western music with Vali’s native Persian.” Reza Vali was born in 1952 inGhazvin, Iran. He began his music studies at the Conservatory of music inTehran. In 1972, he went to Austria and studied music education and compositionat the Academy of Music in Vienna. After graduation, he moved to the UnitedStates and continued his studies at the University of Pittsburgh, receiving hisPh.D. in theory and composition in 1985. Mr. Vali currently directs theComputer-Electronic Music Studio at Carnegie Mellon University. He has beenhonored by the Austrian Ministry of Arts and Sciences, and in 1991 was selectedby Pittsburgh bicultural Trust as Outstanding Emerging Artist for which he receivedtheir Creative Achievement Award.

 

 The Asian and Western aspects of Isang Yun’s Salomo (1977-78)are so fully integrated that one can apply the term “global” with assurance.Regarding his Korean upbringing and Western musical training, Yun explains, “Idon’t need to organize or separate elements of the cultures. I am a unity, asimple person. It’s a synthesis.” This flute work illustrates a strongindividual characteristic of Yun’s music - that of organization around“principal sounds”. A single tone, alive in itself, like a brush stroke inAsian ink painting, breathes and fluctuates with embellishments, slidingpitches, and dynamic variations. What Westerners would consider amelody––a succession of tones at specific intervallic distancesabove or below each other––is in Yun’s aesthetic simply theexpansion of the experience of a single note, upward and downward, forward andbackward. Several “phrases” in Salomo are heard to approach such a tone andthen depart from it; the challenge for the listener is to experience the entirephrase as a manifestation of the central tone itself. Isang Yun (1917-1995) wasborn at Tongyong in what is now South Korea. Trained in Japan, he taught inKorea from 1939 onward. Subsequent studies in Berlin with Boris Blacher andJosef Rufer, courses attended at Darmstadt and a Ford Foundation Grantestablished his relationship with Germany, where he thereafter resided untilhis death.

 

She has chosen pieces by contemporary composers that combineelements of folk music from various regions with modern European procedures,giving them a special flavor...Flutist Wetherill impresses as much by hermusicianship-specifically a resistance to overemphasizing the exotic elementsof these pieces- as by her technique and tonal resources. Well done. —ArtLange, Fanfare Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000