Representation Remixes: An Ancient Tale, by Bohdana Filtz

Hello, all! This week’s remix was a two-for-one deal, in that one of my students commented that she wasn’t fond of one of the Grade 4 RCM studies I had assigned her. Rather than give her one of the traditional choices, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to do a Representation Remix.

I chose Bohdana Filtz’s “An Ancient Tale” from an older Grade 6 RCM book–and discovered that since Filtz doesn’t have a Wikipedia page of her own, that makes her a prime candidate for a future History Hunt writeup (yes, I’ve still got those on the back burner!).

Here’s what Discogs.com has to say about her:

Bohdana Filtz (born 1932) is a Ukrainian composer and musicologist from Lviv. She has composed over 400 pieces including classical symphonic and piano music, liturgical choral arrangements, as well as children’s songs.

And here’s the piece! I’d recommend it for a Grade 4 RCM student; while the rhythms are overall straightforward, it does hit that high A toward the end of the piece.

flute-Filtz-An Ancient Tale-flute part – Flute solo.
flute-Filtz-An Ancient Tale – Flute part with piano accompaniment.

Incidentally, my computer isn’t displaying the MM in the PDF files; I suspect it’s an issue with importing from Finale. If someone could let me know if they can see the MM, that would be great. Thank you!

New Student Library Addition!

This week’s addition to my student library is a bit different than usual. One of my current students is a retired lady who’s taking piano lessons from me so she can play her favourite hymns. She brought in a copy of “Jesus Loves Me” from her hymnbook, but the print was so tiny that I was having trouble reading it. There was also no room for me to suggest fingering–a necessity for a SATB (soprano-alto-tenor-bass) arrangement!

So, students of my studio, you can now download a reasonably-sized version of “Jesus Loves Me,” complete with fingering instructions. Simply log into my website. Everyone else…well, why not consider joining my studio?

Representation Remixes: Skipping Rope, by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina

Over the past half of a year, I’ve been making a real effort to expand my music collection to reflect the composers I’ve featured in my History Hunt series (and hope to continue to feature when time and health permit!). It’s been a real challenge, though, especially with my flute music collection. There are real gaps–so much so that I recently had to apologise to one of my students for only giving her music by white men to play so far when neither of us fit that bill.

So I’ve started to do some very simple arrangements to fill in the gap a little. Normally, I keep my arrangements as a perk for members of my studio, but addressing the incredible imbalance in core flute repertoire is something I feel very strongly about. So, I’d like to make these arrangements generally available.

The first one I’ve completed is “Skipping Rope,” by Yelena Fabianovna Gnesina. It’s found in the Grade 5 Royal Conservatory of Music repertoire book; the arrangement should be suitable for flute students playing at a Grade 1/2 RCM level.

flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope (Flute and Piano parts)
flute-Gnesina-Skipping Rope-flute part (Flute part alone)

I hope you all enjoy, and please feel free to send me feedback! I don’t arrange music as often as I should, and so I could do with some constructive criticism.

A Pleasant Surprise

As I was preparing for a lesson this afternoon, I noted in some surprise that not only was the study I was going to be teaching by a female composer, but by a female composer I’d not heard of.

RCM Grade 5 Study #15, “Skipping Rope,” is by (Y)elena Fabianovna Gnesina. She doesn’t have her own Wikipedia page in English (yet!), but here’s what The Free Dictionary has to say about her:

Born May 18 (30), 1874, in Rostov-on-Don; died June 4, 1967, in Moscow. Soviet pianist and teacher. Honored Art Worker of the RSFSR (1935).

Gnesina graduated from the Moscow Conservatory in 1893 as a piano student of V. I. Safonov and devoted herself to teaching. She was a founder and director of Gnesin’s School of Music (from 1895) and Gnesin’s Music Pedagogic Institute (from 1944), where she worked as artistic supervisor and professor. As a teacher Gnesina developed the finest traditions of the Russian school of piano. Her students included the pianist L. N. Oborin and the composer A. I. Khachaturian. She was awarded two Orders of Lenin, two other orders, and various medals.

V. I. ZARUBIN

It looks as though I have some research to do!

Discovered: Music by Canadian Women

While doing errands on Monday, I noticed I was walking past Granata Music. With my goal in mind of expanding the number of underrepresented composers in my collection, I decided to stop by.

Jackpot!

Not only did I discover two piano music collections heavily featuring Canadian composers Jean Coulthard, Joan Hansen, and Barbara Pentland, but both collections were on sale! I do so love a good sale.

New Works:

Music of Our Time I, by Jean Coulthard, David Gordon Duke, and Joan Hansen. Published by Waterlook Music. [Easy-Early Intermediate Piano]
Studies in Line, by Barbara Pentland. Published by Berandol Music Ltd. [Intermediate Piano]

Previous posts in this series discovering music by underrepresented composers: (1)

Clara Schumann with an improved mini-biography: "A child prodigy who was one of the first to adopt performing by memory and whose brilliant performances were so loved that flowers were thrown at her feet at her 50th anniversary concert."

History Hunt: One Year Later

Next week is the first anniversary of the History Hunt series. My first post was made on January 16, and featured a short paragraph on Tibors de Sarenom. When I started the series, I thought that writing a little about my chosen forgotten musicians would be enough to inspire my readers to go out and learn more about them. But quickly I realised that it wasn’t just that these musicians had been forgotten: the information about them is scattered about the internet. Sometimes the write-ups about them that exist are conflicting and it would take some work to find the truth. Sometimes there’s no way to find the truth at all with the information available. And so my History Hunt posts grew and grew.

That was fine when I first moved to Ottawa: my studio was small, and so I had more time to devote to research. But as I gain more students by the week, my research time has reduced. Researching for and writing a 1000-word article every single week has become impractical, especially since it’s important for me to integrate what I’ve learned into my own teaching.

And so, for the next few months at least, my History Hunt articles will be appearing once every two weeks. I’ll be using my week “off” to ensure that the students of my studio gain a well-rounded understanding of music history and learn music that’s far more representative of the musical world, both past and present. And my first project will be this:

Clara Schumann

What’s wrong with this picture?

Remember this picture, and how it was all about Clara Schumann performing music by her male friends and family? Well, I’ve fixed it! For those who can’t read my handwriting in the header image, it says:

“A child prodigy who was one of the first to adopt performing by memory and whose brilliant performances were so loved that flowers were thrown at her feet at her 50th anniversary concert.”

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be making sure to add to my poster so that my students can see for themselves what a varied place Western Classical music history really is. And I’ll keep you all updated on how it goes!

Until next time!