Allegretto from the Symphony No. 7
Composed by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1829)
Arranged for flute choir by Nancy Nourse
Published by Nourse Wind Publications
Includes score and parts
Flute 3 (Opt. div. a 4)
Flute 4 (Opt. div. a 2)
Contrabass Flute (Opt.)
*Flutes 2 and 4 have optional low B
Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, op. 92, created in 1812, was composed entirely without a slow movement. Instead, this famous Allegretto opens with a statement of an A minor chord followed by a rhythmic and hypnotic theme – a somewhat sombre and dream-like march – presented by the third, fourth, alto, and bass flutes. As this melody continues (at letter A), the first and second flutes reiterate the theme at the octave while the alto and bass flutes settle in to a contrasting bass line, all while the third and fourth flutes introduce a new countermelody. There is a rising of complexity and dynamic intensity as more contrapuntal layers are added, culminating in the driving triplets of the alto and bass flutes (at letter C). Yet as the march parades to its conclusion, the theme disintegrates as the dynamics weaken and finally all that remains is the memory of a fading A minor chord.
Although the technical demands of this outstanding music are within the capabilities of the young flute choir, there are certainly multiple musical challenges. Full attention must be given to the overarching structure of Beethoven's dynamics as the full effectiveness of the composition depends on it. For developing matched articulations in the march theme, it might be helpful to rehearse the theme together, – that would be flutes 3, 4, alto and bass beginning at bar 3, flutes 1 and 2 beginning at letter A and piccolo beginning at B. (For practice developing good intonation between piccolo and flute 1, first flutes could play from letter C too.) For the countermelody flutes 3 and 4 should rehearse at A while flutes 1 play at B and flutes 2 at C. Careful attention to tuning the octaves in rehearsing (which actually won't occur in the performance) will help develop awareness of instrument tendencies. The grace notes in this countermelody are to be played on the beat. The alto and bass flutists will need to be strong players as their triplet counterpoint at C must permeate the rhythm, driving the ensemble into a full orchestral frenzy. Because of the divisis, it is recommended that there be a larger number of players on the flute 3 and 4 parts than on the flute 1 and 2. An optional contrabass flute part has been included.