Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Many Faces of Syrinx for Debussy's Birthday

Most flutists have an intimate long-term relationship with Debussy's Syrinx, a piece that is 100 this year. I imagine that there are many flutists who perform it regularly, but haven't seen the music in years (I seem to remember a story about Doriot Anthony Dwyer getting up to play it for an encore, and suddenly forgetting how it went). It is a piece that every flutist plays with his or her own personal twist, and a piece that every flutist takes liberty playing.

Here are a handful of performances of the piece (some with extreme personal liberties) by Emmanuel Pahud, Paula Robison, Jasmine Choi, James Galway, the 8-year-old Emma Resmini, Gary Schocker, Marcel Moyse, Mimi Stillman (part of her 362-part--as of today--"Syrinx Journey," Philippe Bernold, Jean-Pierre Rampal, William Kincaid, and one by a river, on a rock, amongst some reeds by a flutist who identifies herself as Fluter Scooter.

For a little thrill, try playing two of them at once, starting at different times. Or three.

Now listen to how wonderful it sounds on the trumpet!

Yes. I am practicing it on the viola this evening.

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