Three Fantasies On Irish Folk Melodies by Robert Fruehwald (1998)
For solo alto or bass flute
I. O'Carolan's Lament
II. Tobin's Jig
III. My Lagan Love
Contains instructions for extended techniques used : Key clicks, harmonics, microtonal trills
My wife is a harpist. She became interested in Irish music because it helps her students to learn to play more naturally and freely. Through working with Irish musicians she also came to have an appreciation for the beauty of traditional Irish melodies. Because my wife teaches in our home, I have inadvertently become extremely familiar with many of these melodies and have grown to love them.
While this music is playable on the flute, i really believe that it sounds better on the alto flute. The alto flute is not simply a larger version of the “soprano” flute; it does in fact have several acoustical properties. While the low register of the alto flute has a rich focused sound, the sound becomes increasingly thin as one ascends into the upper register. Many people blieve that this limits the artistic value of the instrument, that the alto flute is only useful in it's lowest register. The thinness of the sound of the alto flutes's high register is not unlike the sound produced by ethnic flutes. Performers on these instruments take advantage of the variety of colors available on their instruments. If a particular pitch is weak or thin, the player uses that pitch for musically expressive purposes. I like the alto flute for this composition because it is capable of producing a variety of timbres much like those associated with traditional Irish flute playing. The very fact that the alto flute is different from the “soprano” flute, that it has uneven registers, makes it ideal for this piece.
All of the extended techniques in the piece are optional. While I believe that the timbres created using these techniques are often quite beautiful, I am also aware that they do not work equally well for all players on all instruments. Performers should feel free to omit any or all of the extended techniques. i would musch rather have a comfortable, musical performance of the work than one with all the “right effects”. I would recommend however that the 32nd notes at the end of the second movement be played with the fingerings indicated. I don't believe that most players will be able to play them fast enough using the conventional fingerings. –R. Fruehwald