Arabesque et Scherzo (Arabesque and Scherzo) (Arabeske en Scherzo)
Composed by Jef Maes
for Flute and Piano
Published by Metropolis Music Publishers
Includes score and flute part
Belgian composer Jef “Joseph” Maes (1905 – 1996) often described himself as a “modern romantic,” and his 1948 Arabesque and Scherzo for flute and piano (written as a concours piece for the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp in Belgium) is a testament to that label. Quite aside from its appeal to flutists as a competition work – with its origins as a concours piece allowing the player to display both technical and musical prowess – the music itself holds touches of Korngold and early Hindemith in its lush melodies and moments of sultry film music. And, though Maes held no truck with most elements of modernism, his clever take on neo-romantic harmony and a healthy touch of humor keeps the piece sounding fresh and appealing. Constructed on the model of more famous Paris Conservatoire pieces – Gaubert's Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando, for example, or Enesco's Cantabile et Presto – the Arabesque and Scherzo revels in the two-movement format. The opening Arabesque allows the flutist to sing, with ornamentation and figurations highlighting the flute's ability to color octave-spanning melody with technique. The Scherzo alternates between action sequences and moments of reverie, but always with an ear towards vivid musicality and clear conversation between flute and piano.