Duo for Flute and Piano (1971)

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

Program note written by Jacob Farmer

Movements:
I. Flowing
II. Poetic, somewhat mournful
III. Lively, with bounce

Approximate Performance Time:
13 Minutes

Difficulty:
Advanced – appropriate for college undergraduates

Recordings:
Jeanne Baxtresser & Israela Margalit. Duo for Flute and Piano. Cala Records Ltd, 2006. MP3.

Source Article:
Pelser, Corrie Rebecca. “Interpretation of Aaron Copland’s Duo for Flute and Piano.” Order No. 1490325 California State University, Long Beach, 2010. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Biography:
Aaron Copland was born at the start of the twentieth century in Brooklyn, New York, and is arguably the most famous American composer. He is best known for his works Appalachian Spring, Fanfare for the Common Man, and Lincoln Portrait. His early musical lessons were in piano (taught by his sister), then he studied under Rubin Goldmark, and later under Nadia Boulanger in France. Most of his music is written for orchestra, featuring a combination of jazz, folk, and classical motifs. Copland died in 1990, a Pulitzer Prize winner and an Oscar winner for his contributions in film as well.

Piece Information:
The Duo was written in 1971 in memoriam of William Kincaid’s death in 1967. John Solum was a previous student of Kincaid’s and gained the support of seventy other previous students and organized the commission. Copland decided to go back towards tonality for this work instead of writing something more avant-garde. The piece uses previous material from older works in the 1920’s and 1940’s, giving it the allusion of being written in the earlier part of Copland’s career. The piece is a three movement work beginning with Flowing, giving a reflection of Copland’s first movement from his Third Symphony. The middle movement is an elegy for William Kincaid. Lastly, Copland ends the piece dance-inspired motive.