Composer Elizabeth Vercoe's CD titled "Butterfly Effects and Other Works" was released by Navona Records (6196) in November, 2018. Sheet music for Butterfly Effects is available from Noteworthy Sheet Music in either print or PDF edition.
The following text pertaining to the title tracks has been excerpted from Cinemusical's CD review. To read the entire CD review published online on December 12, 2018, please visit the Cinemusical website.
"The album opens with a multi-movement work for flutes and harp, Butterfly Effects (2009). Across the seven movements, Vercoe explores the qualities of different instruments in the flute family: alto flute, bass flute, concert flute, and piccolo. The music has a slight impressionistic quality to it, aided by the harp’s material. Against this is first a rather dreamy, dark opening movement (“Mourningcloak”); a faster-paced flitting “Banded Blue Parrot”; a tango (“Common Jezebel”); intriguing effects like beat-boxing (“Question Mark”) and blues riffs (“Karner Blues”); and a palindromic compositional technique (“Monkey Puzzle”). The flute lines allow for registral exploration and often features some sinuous lines. Some are sultrier than others, but it is as if these are all like watercolor brushstrokes that tend to be somewhat introspective in this often stunningly beautiful work. Recorded a decade earlier, Elegy for viola and piano (1990), is one of the composer’s more acclaimed works. It is one of five introspective solo works and is a perfect counterpart to the early flute and harp work. The music here has a decidedly harsher edge with dark colors and dissonance that add to the devastation of the intense solo line."
"Vercoe has an excellent sense of dramatic shape that comes through in each of these works spanning some 35 years of her creativity. The music maintains a more commonly tonal realm with extended, denser harmonies used for dramatic effect. Each line is shaped in such a way that the color it creates evolves with the accompaniment harmony. It blends aspects of impressionism, modernism, and a touch of new romanticism."
The CD was also reviewed by Nicole Riner in the Flutist Quarterly Spring 2019 edition:
Butterfly Effects and Other Works
Several of composer Elizabeth Vercoe’s chamber works have been gathered together on this recording, including the eponymous Butterfly Effects, written for and performed by Peter H. Bloom and harpist Mary Jane Rupert; This Is My Letter to the World, text by Emily Dickinson, performed by D’Anna Fortunato (mezzo-soprano), Bloom, and Rupert (piano); Elegy for viola and piano; and a collection of songs for soprano, piano, and vibraphone. This review addresses the works that include flute.
I had the pleasure of reviewing the sheet music for Butterfly Effects for this publication in 2015 and found it to be wonderfully diverse and intriguing. The flutist is required to play C flute, alto, bass, and piccolo, and each brief movement explores different musical styles, like tango, beat boxing, and blues. Bloom and Rupert perform this work deftly and with a great sense of unity. This Is My Letter to the World contains a certain whimsy in the writing that is truly charming. Bloom, Rupert, and Fortunato seem well suited to each other as a chamber ensemble, although I do feel that the flute part gets a bit buried in this recording, which seems to be more likely a recording issue than compositional problem.
Butterfly Effects and Other Works is a nice introduction to the lovely writing of Elizabeth Vercoe and easily displays her accessibility as a composer. Listening to this album only strengthens my resolve to learn these charming pieces!