Friday, February 22, 2019
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Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings

composer: Ridout, Alan
title: Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings
publisher: Emerson Edition, Ltd.
level: High School - Advanced
range: concert a’’

British composer and educator Alan Ridout (1934–1996) was a successful composer in many genres. He is perhaps most noted for his many compositions written for the developing musician, out of a need for new and interesting pieces for his own students to perform.

Concertino for Flugelhorn and Strings (1988) was composed in three short movements. In lieu of strings, a well-written piano part was also provided by the composer. Unlike the traditional fast-slow-fast form of the three-movement variety, this work is slow-fast-slow. The complete length is around six minutes.

There are many challenges and learning opportunities in this composition for the developing performer. Notably, this piece provides a platform for the student-performer to learn the intricacies of the flugelhorn, including the intonation challenges throughout the entire practical range of the instrument and developing a lyrical and fluid sound concept.

Other challenges include odd-meter and less familiar time signatures--the performer must navigate through 5/8 and 8/8 with various beat divisions and sub-divisions--and a few passages of aggresive and angular melodic contours.

Although the pitch range is wide, endurance should not be a factor. Most of the writing is in the staff, and there are ample rests for the flugelhorn.

Musically, the concertino is well written. Thoughtful melodies in the flugelhorn combine with complimentary percussive and accented lines in the accompaniment. Although tonal, several key areas are explored.

Reviewer's note: I have a used Ridout's Concertino in my studio as a chance for students to navigate through many of the challenges listed above. I have also used the piece on my own recitals as a nice, light change of programming and a chance to use the lyrical flugelhorn in a contemporary classical setting.

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