This article was published in the January 2018 SEMFA newsletter.
In the Spring of 2018, Amy Porter will be releasing a new DVD, publication, and download cycle celebrating Philippe Gaubert's complete works for flute and piano. The DVD and download cycle will be titled "Gaubert Cycle: The Complete Works for Flute and Piano", and the Carl Fischer publication containing editions of each of these works will be titled "Gaubert's Treasures". Recordings of Amy Porter performing these works by Philippe Gaubert are available on equilibri.com for $9.99 or $19.99 and trailers for her recordings of all 16 works for flute and piano are available on youtube. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Porter herself regarding her upcoming publications, and below are excerpts from our recent skype interview.
FL: "Would you like to talk a little bit about your upcoming publication titled 'Gaubert's Treasures'?"
AP: "Yes! Philippe Gaubert was literally discovered by Jules Taffanel (the father of Paul Taffanel) while he was walking down the street in a town outside of Paris. He heard a flutist playing and thought ' he's really good, and MY son Paul is really good too', so he took Gaubert to Paris at age 14, and taught him everything he knew. Gaubert eventually became an elite musical personality - I call him the 'Leonard Bernstein of Paris'. He was a flutist, flute professor, editor and conductor. They put him on the podium and said 'Philippe! Get up here and conduct!' and he became the conductor of the opera. At the time, he was conducting, teaching, and then he started composing. The "Nocturne and Allegro and Scherzando" is the second piece he wrote for flute and piano. That's really the one piece we know. Then we learn about "Madrigal", and if you're really good you know the Sonatas. And then if you're really good, you know that he wrote a "Romance", but did you know that he wrote two Romances? The more you look into it, you find that all of these different pieces by Gaubert start appearing and you say 'wow, these are so beautiful! Why aren't they in one place?'. I am an inquiring mind, constantly. I'm always circling things and using post-it notes, and when it all comes together as an idea I make it happen. That's what started to happen. I was playing with Tim Carey when he came to play for my class Anatomy of Sound and Tim Carey can play anything when it comes to flute and piano repertoire. So I decided if I could use Tim Carey, then I can record Gaubert's repertoire and I had a teaching assistant to help me. Merryl Neille got interlibrary loans and got all these different patchwork editions that were out of print or in print and public domain, and we compiled all of sixteen works for flute and piano. One of them, "Sicillienne" is actually for flute and orchestra and then it became a flute and piano piece later so I transcribed that,. Then there's another piece called "Divertissement Grec" for two flutes and piano, but it can also be played as one flute with the right hand piano playing the second flute part. I recorded with Tim Carey in Hill auditorium over a two-day period in 2016, and we filmed and recorded all 16 flute and piano works. It's on YouTube and see the trailers for them. Equilibri.com is where everything is being uploaded, and the recordings are downloadable for $9.99 and $19.99 for the longer works. Penelope Fischer (winner of the National Flute Association Service Award) wrote her doctoral thesis on Philippe Gaubert, from which a couple of books have been published citing her. I always have a historian on my DVDs so I thought it would be nice to put her on camera and for her to be the historian for this study guide. She agreed. So, a month later, we filmed for another two days. We have some amazing footage. Penny talks about Moyse and how Gaubert gave him the first prize for playing his Nocturne and Allegro Scherzando. Penny's eyes get all watery when she talks about Gaubert or Moyse and I just wanted to document that love that she has for them. The thesis was published in 1984, so I wanted to bring Penny's thesis back into our libraries. We feature the Gaubert oeuvre in 2 sections - pre-World War I and post-World War I. Gaubert served in World War I and he was given a medal of honor. He served in the battle of Verdun, and when he came back he plunged back into his art and did more than ever and wrote more flute pieces than ever. I am just thrilled to put them all in one place on film. Then, my publisher Carl Fischer said 'let's take your version of the performances, which probably have been edited', and I said 'yes, I break some slurs and I correct some dynamics', and he said 'let's do an edition'. I'm going to do the shorter pieces and I'm going to end with the "Suite". It's in four movements, and each one is dedicated to a different flute player. It's so beautiful! Every single piece he wrote has a dedication to a friend. It is incredible. On the study guide you will see a picture of the dedicatees, we talk about the piece, Penny explains the form, and then I perform it with Tim Carey in Hill Auditorium with two cameras. It's beautiful. The publication is being drafted now."
FL: "That's going to be a wonderful resource, I am really looking forward to that coming out! Thank you so much for your time, and I am looking forward to writing this article!"
Interview by: Francesca Leo