Meerenai Shim's debut CD, Sometimes the City is Silent, include familiar works by CPE Bach, Carl Reinecke, and Bela Bartok as well as adventurous works by Ian Clarke and Janice Misurell-Mitchell. Noah Luna's Entrometido and Meerenai's own arrangement of Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances for flute and cello were recorded in collaboration with cellist Rachel Turner Houk. Pianist Lori Lack is featured in the Reinecke Undine Sonata as well as the seldom performed Sérénade aux étoiles by Cécile Chaminade.
[released 14 May 2011 ]
In 1786, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (Johann Sebastian Bach’s most famous son) wrote his “Hamburger” Sonata for flute and basso continuo in Hamburg, Germany. This recording is a modern adaptation of the composition, as it is performed on the modern Boehm system flute and piano. (Theobald Boehm, the inventor of the Boehm-system flute was born 6 years after CPE Bach died.)
In 2010, I commissioned Noah Luna to write a duo for flute and cello. A few months later, I was delighted to receive Entrometido:
‘The duo genre has always carried with it an inescapable subtext: a dialogue or scene in which each instrumentalist represents a single character. When I began to sketch out the concept for this work, that subtext was definitely on my mind, along with some notable duos that exemplify the genre: pieces about cats and mice, romances, quarrels, etc. As I continued to roll this idea around in my head, I began to think about the scenes in my life that were intimate conversations between two people. Now, coming from a large Mexican family, a conversation between two people never lasts long: you are always interrupted by each member in your family at least once, and at least three times by your mother. This seems particularly common, and particularly troublesome during young courtships.
This work represents the courtship of two young lovers who have no choice but to tiptoe about, keeping their trysts secret, lest the young man’s mother interrupt and tell the story about the time he accidentally went to school wearing his sister’s pants (which is a completely hypothetical scenario…) In any case, the two lovers are constantly playing this game of sneak, meet, get caught, sneak, meet, etc. But, there comes a time when the need for sneaking about is not necessary any more and the two lovers are free to come and go as they please. However, the two come to the realization that half the fun was working on their stealthy maneuvers and trying to keep their activities unknown to their nosey families. And, even more importantly, they have their nosey families to thank for the feelings they fostered for each other in secret. The two, I’m sure, still play their own game of cat and mouse from time to time, just to remind them of where their love initially came from, as well as remind them of what it was like to be young, in love, and constantly interrupted.
The title of this work, “Entrometido” translates approximately to “Meddlesome.”’
- Noah Luna
Although Cécile Chaminade’s most popular work today is the Concertino for flute and piano/orchestra, her piano compositions and songs were quite popular and she was a well-known pianist during her lifetime. Sérénade aux étoiles (Op. 142) was written in 1911 and dedicated to Adolphe Hennebains, flute professor at the Paris Conservatory.
“Sometimes the City is Silent for solo flute was commissioned by the National Flute Association for the 2003 High School Soloist Competition. This piece is based on a series of poetic and musical sketches I made in the fall of 2000 while I was teaching at New York University and living in Greenwich Village on the twenty-fifth floor of a hi-rise. When looking at the view at night I would sometimes try to read the outlines of lights (on bridges and in windows) and shapes on rooftops (water towers and cast iron ornament) as a kind of graphic notation; I would improvise flute lines based on these images. On nights when the windows were open I could hear the sounds of the traffic and people on Houston Street below; I sometimes improvised on these sounds, recorded them and also wrote short poems about them. On rare occasions there were times, usually for only a few moments, when the city was silent. This piece is about all of the above; it is dedicated to the spirit of the people of New York City.”
- Janice Misurell-Mitchell
This arrangement of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances is based on the piano composition written in 1912 (Sz. 56) and the orchestral version written in 1917 (Sz.68). Bartók based this work on Romanian fiddle tunes: [track 6] Joc cu bata (Stick Game or Dance with Stick), [track 7] Braul (Sash Dance), [track 8] Pe loc (Stomping Dance), [track 9] Buciumeana (Dance from Bucium, also known as “horn song” or “horn dance”),
[track 10] Poarga Romaneasca (Romanian Polka), [track 11] Maruntel (Fast Dance).
Carl Reinecke wrote the “Undine” Sonata for piano and flute in 1882. It is loosely based on the then popular novel Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. The story about a water nymph, who can only obtain a soul if she marries a human being isn’t depicted literally in Reinecke’s composition but some of the music obviously reflect the story. Listen for the waves and ripples in the water, especially in the first movement. There are four movements in this piece: Allegro [track 12], Intermezzo [track 13], Andante tranquillo [track 14], and Finale [track 15].
Written in 1999, Zoom Tube for solo flute by Ian Clarke is a bluesy and rhythmic piece that, to me, represent the sounds one may hear in a tube station in London. On his website, Clarke notes that inspiration for this piece came from “rhythm & blues, Bobby McFerrin, Stockhausen, Robert Dick, Ian Anderson & South American flute playing.”