The Snake Charmer
As the alto flute is growing in popularity to the point that more flutists now own them, pieces such as the Snake Charmer are being hailed as a "must program" for enthusiasts of the alto flute.
After the first subscription concert performance of Willard Elliott's (1926-2000) The Snake Charmer by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with Richard Graef as alto flute soloist in 1978, the Chicago Sun-Times said approvingly, "...this intriguing little piece has gentle, hazy sonorities reminiscent of Debussy and a wonderfully colored alto flute part, which Graef breezed through." The Chicago Tribune added "...it deftly evokes the langour of a famous painting of Rousseau. The writing for alto flute is idiomatic...Strings' harp, and tinkling percussion caress and soothe." The composer was principal bassoonist of the Chicago Symphony from 1964-1997, and the piano reducticn was prepared by him. The duration of the piece is 12 minutes. It was a winner of the National Flute Association Newly Published Music Cornpetition in 1978.
Visit www.deyoung.famsf.org/henri-rousseau-snake-charmer to see Henri Rousseau's painting, The Snake Charmer, Mr. Elliot's inspiration for his composition for alto flute.