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Uncommon Sheet Music for Flute and Alto Flute

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This review of Elizabeth Vercoe's piece Butterfly Effects for flute(s) and harp was written by Nicole Riner and first published in the Fall 2015 issue of The Flutist Quarterly, the membership magazine of the National Flute Association.  We reprint the review here in it's entirety, with permission from the National Flute Association.  You may also read the review on the NFA website at




Elizabeth Vercoe is a prolific, highly regarded composer with a large repertoire of mixed chamber music to her credit. Butterfly Effects was written for Peter H. Bloom and harpist Mary Jane Rupert. It sonically depicts seven different varieties of butterfly utilizing harp and, in various combinations, C flute, alto, bass, and piccolo. Each of the work’s seven movements employs different musical styles. Banded Blue Parrot creates a fluttering effect in the flute part over exciting extended techniques in the harp. Common Jezebel is a tango for bass flute and harp; Question Mark, also for bass flute, employs beat boxing and slap key technique. Monkey Puzzle is written in retrograde motion from the middle to the end of the movement, and Karner Blues is a cleverly written blues tune for piccolo and harp. Each movement is brief, with none over three minutes and several clocking in around the one-minute mark. Butterfly Effects requires a variety of sounds and styles from both performers, as both parts request various extended techniques and a high level of technical prowess. The most easily entertaining of the movements, the tango and the blues riffs, are well written and very catchy. The more abstract moments are fascinating and capture beautiful colors from the duo. Vercoe’s writing is well crafted throughout. As a flute-harp duo, Butterfly Effects definitely has its eye on the future; at times atmospheric, at other times incredibly precise, this piece expands the repertoire for this ensemble, which is often relegated to Impressionistic musings. It is an artful exploration of all that the instruments can do and a wonderful addition to the modern chamber musician’s library. —Nicole Riner


© 2015 This review was published in The Flutist Quarterly, the membership magazine of the National Flute Association, and appears here with permission.