The flute has a rich repertoire that extends over several centuries, and Laurel Ann Maurer will be tapping into a small portion of it at her concert on June 2 that will also feature some well known local musicians.
The former Utah resident who now makes her home in Vermont will be in town next week and she’s looking forward to being here again, even if it’s only for a few days. “I’m really excited about coming and working with some of my old colleagues again,” she told Reichel Recommends in a phone interview. She said she’ll be joined by harpsichordist and pianist Pam Jones; clarinetist Lee Livengood; bassoonist Luke Pfeil; and flutist Nancy Toone.
The program Maurer has chosen will be a short history lesson of the flute. “There is a lot of variety and the audience will get to experience a little bit of the development of music,” she said. There will be some new pieces on her program but also a number of standard works by well known composers. “I think everything fits together nicely.”
She’ll open with J.S. Bach’s Sonata in E flat Major, BWV 1031. “This is one of the loveliest of his sonatas. It has the famous Siciliana as its slow movement that everybody knows.” Everything is well balanced in this piece, Maurer said. “It’s serious but also light and sunny.”
The first half will end with Paul Hindemith’s Sonata for Flute and Piano from 1936. “Hindemith is one of my favorite composers. He is a master and gives you everything you could desire as a performer – it’s emotional, it has a passionate second movement and a spirited march. It’s not terribly long but it’s very concise. Hindemith doesn’t waste his time. He writes a lot in a short space of time in this piece.”
One of the things Maurer likes about Hindemith’s sonata is that it’s neither old fashioned nor avant garde. “I think the piece has weathered well and is relevant today. I enjoy it a lot and it’s certainly one of the best flute sonatas from the 20th century.”
In between these cornerstones are two contrasting pieces, one by Theobald Boehm the other a transcription of the “Flower Duet” from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé.
Boehm was a flutist, an inventor who perfected the modern flute and revised the fingering system and also an accomplished composer who lived in the first half of the 19th century. Today his music is largely forgotten but Maurer considers it to be among the best from the period. “His music isn’t typical of all the 19th century lightweight stuff,” she said. “There is real substance in his works.” She’ll be playing his Introduction and Variations on Paisiello’s “Nel Cor Piu,” op. 4, written in 1822. “I enjoy playing theme and variation pieces and I think people will like this piece,” Maurer said.
Rounding out the first half will be Jeanne Baxtresser’s arrangement of the “Flower Duet.” Baxtresser is the former principal flute of the New York Philharmonic and Maurer’s teacher. “I love the sheer beauty of the music and (Baxtresser) did a tastefully done arrangement that works very nicely in concert.”
The second half of the program literally switches gears because it spotlights three works written within the last five years.
Starting this half is Lydia Ayers Caprice in Marava. “This is a short but fabulous piece for alto flute and synthesized gamelan based on the Indian raga ‘Marava,’” Maurer said. “The flute part is very improvisatory and rhythmic. It’s different and a lot of fun.”
The other two works are both by David Ross Gunn, a prominent Vermont composer who has had his works performed by the Vermont Symphony and a number of chamber ensembles. His music is tonal but isn’t predictable, Maurer said. “He has a very creative approach to tonality and music.”
The first of the pair is called Lunar Mural I and was written for Maurer two years ago. “The title is a play on my name,” she said. “It’s a very unique and creative piece that is both complex and sophisticated and humorous and fun.”
The other piece is The Conchoid of Nicomedes and refers to a mathematical formula devised by the Greek mathematician Nicomedes around 200 BCE. “It’s fabulous,” Maurer said. “It’s gorgeous, upbeat and a perfect way to end a concert that covers 400 years of music.”
What: “Four Centuries of Flute Music,” featuring Laurel Ann Maurer
Location: Dumke Recital Hall, David Gardner Hall, University of Utah
Time and Date: 7:30 p.m. June 2
Tickets: $10 general, $5 seniors and students (at the door)
ALSO: Master Class with Laurel Ann Maurer, Room 270 in David Gardner Hall, 6:30-9 p.m. June 1, $10 (at the door, open to everyone).