3 Gershwin Tunes
Arranged for recorders by Francis Feldon

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History and Performance Notes

Frances Feldon studied both recorder and baroque flute at the Early Music Institute of Indiana University, where she completed her doctorate in collegium directing, and doctoral document on aesthetics and vibrato in the French Baroque. Ms. Feldon performs chamber music with Flauti Diversi, a baroque chamber ensemble, and Danza!, a renaissance mixed consort. She teaches recorder and baroque flute privately at her studio in Berkeley, California and is a regular conductor and faculty member at recorder workshops throughout North America. Ms. Feldon directs the San Francisco Early Music Society Recorder Workshop.

Largely unschooled and never proficient in reading music, George Gershwin (1898 – 1937) was nevertheless hugely successful as composer, conductor and pianist. His first successful serious composition, Rhapsody in Blue (1924, orchestrations by Ferde Grofe), was commissioned by Paul Whiteman for his jazz band with Gershwin as piano soloist. The famous opening clarinet glissando has been rendered here as a 10-note ascending scale — a simplified version from the chromatic 17-note version Gershwin originally wrote — which works very well on the soprano recorder!

’S Wonderful and I Got Rhythm are from An American in Paris (1928). Gershwin’s popular song style is epitomized by pleasing tunes in which Tin Pan Alley is commingled with jazz elements such as “blue notes” (flatted thirds and sevenths), swung 8ths, syncopation, and the walking bass. Many songs, like I Got Rhythm, are based on a single rhythmic pattern. The chord changes for I Got Rhythm have become ubiquitous in the jazz world as the basis for many new jazz tunes and improvisations, and as such, part of an international musical language.

Performance notes

Rhapsody in Blue is scored for Solo S+SAATTBB, and ’S Wonderful is scored for SAATTBB. Multiple players will be required on the alto, tenor and bass parts to sound full chords. However, the pieces will work with SATB: have players cover as many notes as possible without doubling chord tones. Big basses will work very well on the bottom parts!

The high D-flat at bar 30 in the Solo Soprano in Rhapsody in Blue may be fingered as: Ø1-3/4567\ (half-cover hole 7 for tuning).