Performed by Andrew Vang

This piece is entitled "And the the Devil eat the Cat" 

You can find the score attached as well. 

All feedback welcome. 

Alex Oliver Cawley 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uod-Pgk9uJg&t=0s

%22...And the Devil eat the Cat%22.pdf

You need to be a member of Composers' Forum to add comments!

Join Composers' Forum

Email me when people reply –

Replies

  • Alex, I don't normally go for solo flute, but I liked this and am curious about the title?  You seem to know a lot about writing for the instrument, so I hope you don't mind some niggling comments about notation fixes you should make in the score.

    When I open the PDF, the Title on the first page is "For Solo Flute" which I assume is supposed to be the subheading to your actual title "And the Devil eat the cat"?

    In general, tempo indications and technique instructions should always go above the staff, dynamics and expression marks below.  So all of your tempo indications ("Very rhyhymic", "Stringendo" etc) should go above the staff.  In bar 64, your tempo mark "Animato" (note there is a typo) should go above, while "sempre piano" stays below.  And I would recommend rewriting the dynamic as "p sempre" so it's exactly clear on what note you want that indication to be understood.  Also "flz." is a technique and should go above the staff; it should also be cancelled with "ord." or "nat." when you want the play to stop using the technique. 

    Double check your courtesy accidentals and/or enharmonic spelling throughout.  For example, in bars 5-6 you go from F# to Fnatural under a slur, with no written indication (other than the start of a new bar) that the F became natural.  Your player seemed to get it, but this is fraught notation and it would definitely be better to make your pitch intentions explicit.  In general I would recommend cautionary/courtesy accidentals in music as chromatic as this.

    In bars 79-80 you have written the verbal instruction "Connect". I believe I understand what you mean by this, but it is more idiomatic for wind instruments to write those two notes under a slur with articulations on each note (tenuto marks seem most relevant in this instance).  Here, too, is another example where your pitch notation is unclear.  Technically you wrote Db followed by a D natural in the following bar (since they are not tied).  However, your flutist plays two Db's.  Whatever pitches you want should be made explicit in the notation.

    There is a repeat barline at the very end that doesn't seem to refer back to anything (and is not played back in the recording), so I assume is an error?

  • Hi John 

    Thanks for this, I will make of note of them. I'm basically aware of the mistakes in the score in general because I saved it as a pdf and then my computer deleted the original so I'll have to retype it at some point. 

    I'm glad the music comes across as being familiar with flute writing but i've not had as much, this is the 3rd piece I have written for flute. 

    The performer lives in Australia so I wasn't able to discuss the piece very much plus it was pro bono. Overall I think he did a great job and it's interesting where he made somethings softer than I had thought be I like it. 

    The title is from an Irish curse which goes "My the Cat eat you and the Devil eat the Cat" The solo flute heading is just a placeholder whilst I was writing. 

    Glad you liked the piece, I was wondering, especially since you mentioned that you don't normally listen to solo flute music; Do you think it works as a solo piece or would setting it with piano work better?

    All the best

    Alex Oliver Cawley  

    John Driscoll said:

    Alex, I don't normally go for solo flute, but I liked this and am curious about the title?  You seem to know a lot about writing for the instrument, so I hope you don't mind some niggling comments about notation fixes you should make in the score.

    When I open the PDF, the Title on the first page is "For Solo Flute" which I assume is supposed to be the subheading to your actual title "And the Devil eat the cat"?

    In general, tempo indications and technique instructions should always go above the staff, dynamics and expression marks below.  So all of your tempo indications ("Very rhyhymic", "Stringendo" etc) should go above the staff.  In bar 64, your tempo mark "Animato" (note there is a typo) should go above, while "sempre piano" stays below.  And I would recommend rewriting the dynamic as "p sempre" so it's exactly clear on what note you want that indication to be understood.  Also "flz." is a technique and should go above the staff; it should also be cancelled with "ord." or "nat." when you want the play to stop using the technique. 

    Double check your courtesy accidentals and/or enharmonic spelling throughout.  For example, in bars 5-6 you go from F# to Fnatural under a slur, with no written indication (other than the start of a new bar) that the F became natural.  Your player seemed to get it, but this is fraught notation and it would definitely be better to make your pitch intentions explicit.  In general I would recommend cautionary/courtesy accidentals in music as chromatic as this.

    In bars 79-80 you have written the verbal instruction "Connect". I believe I understand what you mean by this, but it is more idiomatic for wind instruments to write those two notes under a slur with articulations on each note (tenuto marks seem most relevant in this instance).  Here, too, is another example where your pitch notation is unclear.  Technically you wrote Db followed by a D natural in the following bar (since they are not tied).  However, your flutist plays two Db's.  Whatever pitches you want should be made explicit in the notation.

    There is a repeat barline at the very end that doesn't seem to refer back to anything (and is not played back in the recording), so I assume is an error?

    Piece for Solo Flute (Performance by Andrew Vang)
    Performed by Andrew Vang This piece is entitled And the the Devil eat the Cat   You can find the score attached as well.  All feedback welcome.  Ale…
  • I've only ever written solo wind pieces like this as exercises (or for specific players) and I've found it too often becomes just a test of how interesting the composer can make a single line. This is good for a couple minutes but then my mind always wanders; it just doesn't engage me as a listener very much. I'd much rather hear a flute solo that sets the scene for the entrance of a character in an opera (even then 2-3 minutes would start getting a little tiring). Of course this is totally a subjective thing and I can't claim even many composers would think of music like this.

    I mean, a solo instrument can do a lot, but not as much as a solo flute plus something else, right?  So yes, my vote would be for piano accompaniment--especially if it makes sense in your conception of the piece.



    Alex Oliver Cawley said:

    Hi John 

    Thanks for this, I will make of note of them. I'm basically aware of the mistakes in the score in general because I saved it as a pdf and then my computer deleted the original so I'll have to retype it at some point. 

    I'm glad the music comes across as being familiar with flute writing but i've not had as much, this is the 3rd piece I have written for flute. 

    The performer lives in Australia so I wasn't able to discuss the piece very much plus it was pro bono. Overall I think he did a great job and it's interesting where he made somethings softer than I had thought be I like it. 

    The title is from an Irish curse which goes "My the Cat eat you and the Devil eat the Cat" The solo flute heading is just a placeholder whilst I was writing. 

    Glad you liked the piece, I was wondering, especially since you mentioned that you don't normally listen to solo flute music; Do you think it works as a solo piece or would setting it with piano work better?

    All the best

    Alex Oliver Cawley  

    John Driscoll said:

    Alex, I don't normally go for solo flute, but I liked this and am curious about the title?  You seem to know a lot about writing for the instrument, so I hope you don't mind some niggling comments about notation fixes you should make in the score.

    When I open the PDF, the Title on the first page is "For Solo Flute" which I assume is supposed to be the subheading to your actual title "And the Devil eat the cat"?

    In general, tempo indications and technique instructions should always go above the staff, dynamics and expression marks below.  So all of your tempo indications ("Very rhyhymic", "Stringendo" etc) should go above the staff.  In bar 64, your tempo mark "Animato" (note there is a typo) should go above, while "sempre piano" stays below.  And I would recommend rewriting the dynamic as "p sempre" so it's exactly clear on what note you want that indication to be understood.  Also "flz." is a technique and should go above the staff; it should also be cancelled with "ord." or "nat." when you want the play to stop using the technique. 

    Double check your courtesy accidentals and/or enharmonic spelling throughout.  For example, in bars 5-6 you go from F# to Fnatural under a slur, with no written indication (other than the start of a new bar) that the F became natural.  Your player seemed to get it, but this is fraught notation and it would definitely be better to make your pitch intentions explicit.  In general I would recommend cautionary/courtesy accidentals in music as chromatic as this.

    In bars 79-80 you have written the verbal instruction "Connect". I believe I understand what you mean by this, but it is more idiomatic for wind instruments to write those two notes under a slur with articulations on each note (tenuto marks seem most relevant in this instance).  Here, too, is another example where your pitch notation is unclear.  Technically you wrote Db followed by a D natural in the following bar (since they are not tied).  However, your flutist plays two Db's.  Whatever pitches you want should be made explicit in the notation.

    There is a repeat barline at the very end that doesn't seem to refer back to anything (and is not played back in the recording), so I assume is an error?

    Piece for Solo Flute (Performance by Andrew Vang)
    Performed by Andrew Vang This piece is entitled And the the Devil eat the Cat   You can find the score attached as well.  All feedback welcome.  Ale…
  • Hey Alex-

    I'm a great fan of solo flute pieces and have studied them extensively.  I was the musical partner of a very knowledgeable flutist for over 20 years and we played most of the great flute/piano repertoire.  We also explored the solo literature, which is truly a different genre.   You are probably familiar with some of the more famous flute solos:  Debussy's Syrinx, Honegger's Dance of the Goat (Danse del la chevre), and Varese's Density 21.5.  These are great favorites with flutists and with audiences, and show the capabilities of the flute in a special way.  There is a treasure trove of new flute solo pieces, which explore and highlight the flute in ways unheard of a few centuries ago.

    I think your piece functions best as a solo piece, and that piano would ruin the purity of the line, the contrasts and the imitative sections.  You've done a great job with this solo piece, even though your score needs some work with the notation.  John mentioned most of the notation errors I would have pointed out: enharmonic spellings, courtesy accidentals, the mysterious repeat at the end and the somewhat cryptic marking of "Connect".  I won't elaborate on those things he's already listed so clearly.

    I vote for the piece to remain a solo and to have a slightly different ending - just slowing it down and broadening the last few measures would give us more a sense of completion. As it is, it just seems to stop.  You could also do more with special flute techniques, but maybe that's for a later piece!

    Writing for a solo instrument takes a different kind of skill than ensemble or orchestra work, and poses a different set of challenges.  Bach showed us in the cello suites that a "single line instrument" can also function harmonically and texturally.  The flute can't play double and triple stops, but its agility and different timbres can produce incredibly complex harmonies, structures and textures.  It's an endlessly fascinating instrument.  I love so many of the 20th century flute/piano pieces, but I think the solos are in a class by themselves.  Imagine adding a piano to Bach's cello suites!  ;-(

    Congratulations on a very successful piece with a good performance!!

  • Hi Alex, I enjoyed the piece very much and I think you and Andrew both did a great job. I like that you accepted the challenge of a longer monophonic solo and I think it works well. I think you could have introduced more abstract passage work, short bursts, double tongued phrases, singing while playing, maybe even some "shrieks", but that's just my taste. Good work as is though.
  • Hi Julie 

    Thanks for the comments, it is nice to hear from someone with a lot of experience with the repertoire. I think I will leave it as a solo piece but I just wanted to put the question out there as I think it is something to consider. 

    I like your idea for the ending and it makes sense to me, however most of the time I do prefer to not linger too long so I don't think I would change the music but perhaps indicate a rall. or dim. at the end. I didn't have much chance to direct my flautist so that is probably something we would have talked about. 

    I agree as well on the difficulty of writing for a solo instrument, especially as you say a monophonic one such as the flute. I think you are right to point to Bach as a good source of inspiration and I think I will do just that next time. 

    Many thanks for listening!   

    Alex Oliver Cawley 
    Julie Harris said:

    Hey Alex-

    I'm a great fan of solo flute pieces and have studied them extensively.  I was the musical partner of a very knowledgeable flutist for over 20 years and we played most of the great flute/piano repertoire.  We also explored the solo literature, which is truly a different genre.   You are probably familiar with some of the more famous flute solos:  Debussy's Syrinx, Honegger's Dance of the Goat (Danse del la chevre), and Varese's Density 21.5.  These are great favorites with flutists and with audiences, and show the capabilities of the flute in a special way.  There is a treasure trove of new flute solo pieces, which explore and highlight the flute in ways unheard of a few centuries ago.

    I think your piece functions best as a solo piece, and that piano would ruin the purity of the line, the contrasts and the imitative sections.  You've done a great job with this solo piece, even though your score needs some work with the notation.  John mentioned most of the notation errors I would have pointed out: enharmonic spellings, courtesy accidentals, the mysterious repeat at the end and the somewhat cryptic marking of "Connect".  I won't elaborate on those things he's already listed so clearly.

    I vote for the piece to remain a solo and to have a slightly different ending - just slowing it down and broadening the last few measures would give us more a sense of completion. As it is, it just seems to stop.  You could also do more with special flute techniques, but maybe that's for a later piece!

    Writing for a solo instrument takes a different kind of skill than ensemble or orchestra work, and poses a different set of challenges.  Bach showed us in the cello suites that a "single line instrument" can also function harmonically and texturally.  The flute can't play double and triple stops, but its agility and different timbres can produce incredibly complex harmonies, structures and textures.  It's an endlessly fascinating instrument.  I love so many of the 20th century flute/piano pieces, but I think the solos are in a class by themselves.  Imagine adding a piano to Bach's cello suites!  ;-(

    Congratulations on a very successful piece with a good performance!!

    Piece for Solo Flute (Performance by Andrew Vang)
    Performed by Andrew Vang This piece is entitled And the the Devil eat the Cat   You can find the score attached as well.  All feedback welcome.  Ale…
  • Hi Ingo

    Thanks for taking a listen. The piece wasn't really supposed to be that long or at least I did not have in mind to write a long piece for solo flute. I am happy with the length of course it is just that wasn't my intention. I very often do think of overall length but this was composed in an evening and I just kept writing until I got to the end pretty much. 

    In regards to special techniques, and I suppose this is also a reply to Julie as well, I have considered it but I'm very often in two minds about them. 

    On one hand there is such a wealth of techniques and they are all so fun, interesting and unique to the instrument. Especially if the piece focuses on only that instrument it seems obvious to want to use them. 

    But on the other hand I don't want to use them either just because or as a crutch. I feel like often I could go down the rabbit hole of using so many techniques that the piece no longer feels like it is about anything but a tour of flute techniques.

    Obviously there is a nice middle ground that I could use I just want to explain my caution I guess. I certainly want to explore them more and again I feel like this is something that would have come up if I were to have rehearsed with my flautist as he is the expert. I do think the piece would/will benefit from them in the future. 

    Alex Oliver Cawley  

    Ingo Lee said:

    Hi Alex, I enjoyed the piece very much and I think you and Andrew both did a great job. I like that you accepted the challenge of a longer monophonic solo and I think it works well. I think you could have introduced more abstract passage work, short bursts, double tongued phrases, singing while playing, maybe even some "shrieks", but that's just my taste. Good work as is though.
    Piece for Solo Flute (Performance by Andrew Vang)
    Performed by Andrew Vang This piece is entitled And the the Devil eat the Cat   You can find the score attached as well.  All feedback welcome.  Ale…
This reply was deleted.