Sunday, August 3, 2014

Performance Guide to Henri Gagnebin’s March of the Jolly Fellows

by Leonard Garrison, Associate Professor of Flute, The University of Idaho
Copyright©2014 by Leonard Garrison
To view my teaching video of this piece, please visit my YouTube Channel.

Organist and composer Henri Gagnebin (1886-1977) spent most of his life in the French-speaking areas of Switzerland. He was director of the Conservatory of Geneva from 1925-1957 and wrote chamber music, symphonies, and many works for organ.
Gagnebin’s March of the Jolly Fellows is available in the collection Contemporary French Recital Pieces, Vol. 1 published by the International Music Company:
This March is one of the most popular works for intermediate flutists and is rated Level F by the National Flute Association. These Fellows are rather heavy, and the composer’s suggestion of quarter=76 is surprisingly slow. Allegretto is not as fast as Allegro, and commodo (sometimes spelled comodo) means “comfortable” or “at an easy pace.”
The excitement is in varied articulation, dynamics, and unpredictable phrasing. Follow the slurs as marked, and use a clear single tongue (doo)—double tonguing would encourage rushing. Highlight the dynamic contrasts while adjusting for good intonation. Use a large lip opening for forte and smaller opening for piano. When playing loudly in the high register, remove the right-hand pinky (R4) for E and substitute the middle finger (R2) for the ring finger (R3) for F-sharp.
In meas. 9-10, emphasize the B-flats, which make a tritone with E-natural. This dissonant interval is known as diabolus in musica or “the Devil in music.”
Cédez légèrement means hold back a little.
Save your energy for the last two lines, which provide a grandiose conclusion.
Good luck, or bonne chance!

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