Tracks 1 & 9
“KBM” & “18” – Andy Scott
I remember seeing, and definitely hearing(!), Andy when he played a concert with the Michael Nyman Band in Manchester in about 1987. What a bari sax sound, and then he took a piccolo out of his pocket and with no warm up played brilliantly! (believe me, I really don't understand how someone can do this). In the 1990's Andy & I were both members of the group London Saxophonic, touring Europe, collaborating with Moondog & in the next decade undertaking various concerts & recordings. Imagine my surprise when Andy came to Manchester in April 2011 to record the pieces Fujiko, Paquito & 18, (to go on a CD of my compositions for flute, entitled The Bad Tempered Flute also released on the Nimbus Alliance), as I listened, full of admiration, to his artistry and musicality. After parping away in a large saxophone group with him, here I was given the opportunity to listen to him playing solo flute, an instrument that I knew he played very well, but not this well! Purely my ignorance of course as Andy has been for many years & continues to be one of the UK's leading & in-demand flautists. As a composer it is a dream to hear your pieces performed and recorded by musicians that you respect, even better if it's a good friend, and Andy has a fantastic ability to take a piece such as KBM (that was originally written for saxophone) and make it sound as if it was written for the instrument that he happens to be playing at the time. The feel, time, inflections and phrasing seem so easy, the mark of a great musician.
KBM was commissioned in February 2008 and dedicated to Kyran Matthews. Two main sections alternate throughout the piece; one florid and rhythmically free, the other groove based.
Eighteen was premiered at Sound Festival, Aberdeen in 2007 by the composer. Dedicated to Spencer Moran, the piece is a dynamic exploration of rhythm, energy, anglular intervals and melodic development. Notable for a sound world that also includes harmonics and false fingerings.
Density 21.5 – Edgar Varese
Composed for Georges Barrere in 1936 and revised in 1946 for the premiere performance on his platinum flute. 21.5 grams per cubic centimetre is the density of platinum. On this recording I perform it on my platinum flute, made by Charles Morley for Geoffrey Gilbert in 1950.
The 11th Commandment - Geoff Eales
It is an unpalatable truth that, in order to get through life without too much heartache, most of us are disingenuous or economical with the truth from time to time. No right-minded person wants to hurt a fellow human-being and sometimes expediency is to be preferred to brutal honesty. However it is very important not to commit the eleventh commandment – “thou shalt not be caught” – in all of this. It is an inalienable truth that Andy is an incredible flautist and I am honoured that he has asked me to write a piece for him. It is also true that it is written in 11/8 ( sub-divided into 6+5 or 5+6 ) for almost the entire duration. It is not until the final Presto that the commandment is broken. All hell breaks out as the music teeters on the edge of 7/16, 9/16. 3/8 and 12/8. The 11-metre does make a fleeting appearance in the last few bars but in truth the game is already up.
Tracks 4 & 17
Song For Tony – Michael Nyman pub. Chester Music
In 1993 as a tribute to his friend Tony Simons who died tragically of cancer, Michael wrote a Saxophone Quartet. Originally in four movements, the fourth was a baritone saxophone solo. I’ve chosen to record two new versions of this emotional theme, first on the baritone sax, at Michael’s suggestion, then on the flute, at mine!
Track 5,6,7 & 8
Partita in A minor – J.S.Bach
Canzona – Michael Nyman pub. Chester Music
This work was composed in 1965 whilst Michael was at the Royal Academy of Music. I originally recorded it in August 2008 along with “Yamamoto Perpetuo for Solo Flute”.
Coltrane – David C Heath pub. Camden Music
I first met Andy on a summer school in 1978. We were both so badly behaved I am not sure either of us was asked back - certainly I wasn't. Because we got on, Andy then put me in as a dep in one of his National Theatre shows. It wasn't one of Andy's better decisions.
Andy came into the show to give me some money and was listening increasingly concerned at what was coming through the tanoy. I preceded to have one of the most terrible giggling fits I've ever had, was incapable of playing a single note, and got angrily dismissed onstage by Sir Ralph Richardson. I was still laughing so much afterwards that Sir Peter Hall came and personally sacked me in front of Andy before the show had even finished!
There's no way round it - I was Andy's nightmare dep.
Although I was then banned from ever entering the National Theatre, Andy thankfully forgave me, and we continued to be great friends and colleagues
Years later he rang and wanted a solo flute piece for this album. I told him I'd always thought "Coltrane" would make a good piece for solo alto flute and that it had never been performed or recorded like that. Now it has.
Andy's natural jazz feel and technique are perfect for my music------he doesn't jazz it---he just instinctively knows how to play it.
Thanks for forgiving and forgetting the National disaster Andy, and good luck with the CD.
"Coltrane" was written in 1981 and is a musical tribute to John Coltrane.
The first half is blues - based while the second half is rhythmically and harmonically influenced by North Indian music.
I imagined the piece as a meditation being played on the top of a Tibetan mountain shrouded in mist.
Tracks 12,13 & 14
Sonata for solo flute – David Cullen
I’ve performed David’s work consistently during my career as his orchestrations for Andrew Lloyd Webbers’ work, among many others, are used in theatres, studios and concert halls worldwide.
Writing for a solo instrument is quite a challenge because of the lack of a harmonic element, but listening to a classical concert in a church in France I was struck by how the reverb of the church allowed a solo instrument playing arpeggios to build up a strong sense of harmony, and I wanted to hear more complex harmonies built up in this way. That was the starting point. I wrote this piece in the following five days with the vague scenario that it would be unsettled, searching, unpredictable even quirky until the third movement which finally provided something more relaxed and settled.
As for myself, I was a composition scholar at the Royal Academy of Music in the far-off 1960s, studying with Howard Ferguson and then Richard Rodney Bennett. Unfortunately my style of composition was not fashionable at the time, and anyway I had to earn a living so I followed my interest in jazz, light music and theatre working as a keyboard player and arranger, eventually leading to doing what I am best known for - orchestrating the musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber. Now I am getting back to my roots of all those years ago and starting to compose again. I had some educational instrumental pieces published by Schotts a couple of years ago, some piano pieces published by OUP and certainly intend to write much more.
Tracks 15 & 16
Yamamoto Perpetuo, movts 5 & 9 – Michael Nyman pub. Chester Music
Transcribed and recorded by me on the flute in 2008, here are two movements of this eleven movement work, performed on baritone sax and piccolo.
All tracks except no. 10 engineered and produced by Andy Findon in 2011.
Track 10 produced by Simon Haram, engineered by Austin Ince at Angel Studios in August 2008.
Mastered by Simon Haram at Silent Age Sound.
Andy Findon is a “Pearl Flutes International Artist”
For further information and biographical notes please visit: www.andyfindon.com