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Edward German (1862-1936)
Suite for flute and Pianoforte
i)  Valse Gracieuse   ii) Souvenir   iii) Gipsy dance

Although eventually overshadowed by that of his friend Elgar, Edward German=s music, ranging from symphonies, suites and concert overtures to ballads and salon pieces, enjoyed great success in the later Victorian and Edwardian periods. He was also seen as the natural successor to Sullivan, completing the latter's last opera The Emerald Isle and composing his own masterpiece Merrie England for the Savoy Theatre in 1902.

Born German Edward Jones in Whitchurch, the future Sir Edward German entered the Royal Academy of Music in 1880, studying harmony and counterpoint with Prout and winning organ and violin as well as composition prizes. After seven years as student and sub-professor, during which time he earned his living as a violinist in theatre orchestras, German was recommended by Randegger to become musical director at the old Globe Theatre under the management of Richard Mansfield, where he first achieved widespread recognition as composer of the incidental music for Shakespeare=s Richard III. Principal flute in his orchestra was the Welsh virtuoso Frederick Griffith (1867-1917), who also studied at the Royal Academy, and the friendship which developed led to German writing Suite for Flute and Pianoforte, which the pair performed for the first time at the Steinway Hall on May 10, 1892.

Their programme also included Bach=s E flat major sonata, the first performance in England of the Suite by Benjamin Godard and Edward German=s Saltarello. The critic of the Musical News described German as Aour gifted young Royal Academical@, and remarked that Griffith played Awith a very pure tone which he can subdue to the faintest pianissimo, even in the third octave, and yet preserve the most accurate intonation ---@.

The manuscript of the Suite has been lost. In following the original Rudall Carte edition the present editor was faced with many inconsistencies and a number of discrepancies, too many to list, between the score and the solo part. These have been resolved in most cases in favour of the solo part, where the extra phrasing marks are assumed to have been added as the result of performing experience.

© Colin Bradbury 2007

Valse Gracieuse


Gypsy Dance, page 1

Gypsy Dance, page 2

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