The Old Grumbler (Stary Brucoun)
Composed by Julius Fucik (1872-1916)
Arranged by Ann Cameron Pearce
For Solo Bass Flute (or Contrabass Flute) and Flute Choir
Published by Alry Publications
Duration: ca. 4 minutes
Includes score and parts
Solo Bass Flute (or Contrabass Flute)
Flute 3 (divisi)
Alto Flute (or Flute 4)
This delightful character piece gives the bass flutist (or even the contrabass flutist) a chance to show off. With adequate instrumentation, the soloist could play the “solo” sections only, while the other bass flutists play the tutti phrases. Of course, if there is only one bass flutist, that person will need to perform the entire fifth part. If there is only one third flutist, the top divisi should not be played. Basically, each choir will determine the most complimentary way to present this peice considereing their players' abilities and their instrumentation. It is about four minutes long.
The Old Grumbler (Stary Brucoun) was written about 1910 by Julius Fucik (1872-1916), the Czech composer best known in the United States for his popular circus march, The Entry of the Gladiators. Fucik was a successful military orchestra conductor in addition to being a prolific composer who exhibited talent within various musical idioms. He began his career in Prague as a bassoonist, thus explaining his composing this piece originally as a bassoon solo with orchestral accompaniment.
With a little imagination, this comic polka could depict a story such as this:
An old fellow, the “grumbler,” is strolling rather erratically through the park reminiscing to himself about his long and interesting life. Some children begin to tease and mimic him as they pass him by, for they find his nonsensical mumbling and his irregular gait to be quite humorous. They engage in a friendly dialogue back and forth. (The music at this point alternates between fast and slow.) Finally, the “grumbler” surprises the children by exhibiting more energy than they ever imagined possible by dancing away with great speed and dexterity. Suffice it to say….. he has the last word!
Careful observances, perhaps even in an exaggerated fashion, of the various changes of tempi and styles will result in a fun audience pleaser. Enjoy!
-Ann Cameron Pearce.