Dance of the Elementals


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This unaccompanied flute quartet in A minor is a reduction from an orchestral work that I composed for a south west tour by the Western Australian Youth Orchestra under conductor Peter Moore, back in 1987, when they premiered the work in the local sports pavilion in the beautiful town of Balingup.

Ensemble work whatever the instruments is a wonderful training ground for young musicians – above all, they have to learn to really listen intently so that each individual player stays connected to the groups rhythmical structures, a centred and focused intonation, the phrasing, the dynamics and other musical elements. Try swapping the parts around so that each player experiences the harmonic position of each part in relation to the whole, whether the sound at any particular moment is solo, unisons, 2-part, 3-part or 4-part.

Four flutes playing four different melodies at the same time (eg bars 1-21) gives a very different tonality to two flutes in 2-part (eg bars 22-29), or four flutes playing 2-part with doubling (bars 43-50). The staggered entries from bar 51 require each player to be counting carefully.

Stay connected to the feel of the dancing nature spirits, the elementals that dwell within the earth, air, fire and water. 6/8 is such a wonderful time signature, full of graceful movement and flow.

sample audio

sample sheet music

Level of Difficulty: ★★★☆☆


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