Treasured Tunes featuring Christine Gustafson
Welcome to Treasured Tunes, where professors from the East Carolina School of Music are offering commentary about selected musical pieces. Please sit back and enjoy the music.
Christine Gustafson Speaking
I’m Dr. Christine Gustafson and I am professor of music and applied flute at the East Carolina University School of Music, where I teach flute and chamber music. Today your going to hear a recording of me and of composer Gary Smart playing the Maybrook Fancy for flute and piano. I’d like to tell you a bit about the piece and composer.
Gary Smart is Terry Professor of Music at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. He’s a wonderful pianist with a terrific gift for improvisation, and his music is strongly influenced by jazz rhythms and harmonies. We met at East Carolina University some years ago when Dr. Smart was a guest artist for our wonderful New Music@ ECU Festival. He had written the Maybrook Fancy for flute and piano in 1984 with the support of a Guggenheim grant and had been recorded once before, but I was very honored that he invited me to do a new recording with the composer at the piano. It was released in 2009 on Albany Records.
The structure of Maybrook Fancy is similar to a classical sonata-allegro form, but it sounds like a jazz improv centered around one of his tunes called “Waitin’ for Katie,” Katie is Gary’s daughter, so that’s the emotional significance of the work. Waitin’ for Katie appears in various forms cycling through the work in long beautiful lines, and the piece is about twelve minutes long.
Those twelve minutes are also very significant to the recording you’re about to hear. We recorded in an old hall in Jacksonville, Florida and had been playing for about four hours that afternoon. We knew we had all the material covered and that we could edit a good final version, but Gary said, “let’s just give it one final run-through top to bottom,” and we did. That turned out to be the version that is on this album, recorded in one unedited take, all twelve minutes straight through. I hope our joy in the music and the work we did together on the Maybrook Fancy that afternoon comes through to our listeners now.
Music playing composed by Gary Smart (Maybrook Fancy, performed by the Christine Gustafson and Gary Smart)
This has been a production of East Carolina University. To hear more, please visit the Treasured Tunes index.