Elliot Willard: The Snake Charmer
The Snake Charmer
Alto flute and piano
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.