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.

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Musical Comedy

One of my favourite times of the year when I was growing up was, oddly enough, when PBS held their fundraising drives. While I wasn’t a fan of the part where people asked me for money–it didn’t occur to me that TV didn’t just happen automatically–I loved that I was pretty much guaranteed to catch a rerun of Victor Borge and his hilarious classical music routines.

Victor Borge (born Børge Rosenbaum) was originally Danish, and was one of the extremely fortunate Jewish people to escape the Nazis in World War II. While he didn’t speak any English at all when he arrived in the United States, he learned by immersion and quickly became a huge success.

And it’s not hard to see why, either! Here’s one of his routines, where he plays Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 with the help of a friend who I believe is Armenian composer and pianist Şahan Arzruni (this specific video doesn’t say who he is, but Borge had done the routine with Arzruni on other occasions).

There are plenty more examples of Borge’s musical comedy on Youtube, and I highly recommend checking them out. If you do, keep an ear out for that sneaky “Happy Birthday” –you’ll see what I mean!