Prelude in c-sharp minor Op. 3, No. 2
Composed by Sergei Rachmaninoff
For Low Flute Choir
Arranged by Matt Johnston
Published by Alry Publications
Includes score and parts
3 Alto Flutes
3 Bass Flutes
Contralto Flute (or Bass Flute 4)
Contrabass Flute (or Sub-Contralto Flute)
Program Notes by Matt Johnston
I once gave a concert at a local church and put together a 25-piece clarinet choir. Noticing that I had a pretty sizable number of bass clarinet players in the group, I set out to find a piece that would feature only the low clarinets. I played around with a few ideas and tried out some Bach organ pieces that seemed appropriate, however, in the back of my head was this Rachmaninoff Prelude in C-sharp Minor. I had played it on the piano while a student in high school and remembered the dramatic opening three notes. In arranging it for low clarinets I wanted the lowest of the first three notes to be a low E for everybody (except the Contralto of course), and thus the entire piece was transposed up a half-step from the original in order to accommodate this (not to mention the piece would have everybody in six and seven-sharp key signatures had I not).
Fast-forward ten years, and I'm looking for some suitable pieces to arrange for the growing popularity of low flute choirs. It was tricky to adapt the previous clarinet version to work for flutes, namely because of the bigger difference in the range and keys of the flutes. The transposition mentioned in the previous paragraph was maintained, so if you're looking to do a low flutes with low clarinets concert, this is the piece to play.