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American Suite
by Bruce Stark
Flute and Piano, about 21 minutes
(score 44 pages, part 19 pages)
Belle-Kane Publications
$19.99 (US)
Colorful, delicate, witty, fanciful--
a charming and strong work,
for a combination of instruments which
have attracted so many mediocre ones.


- Phillip Moll, pianist
(accompanist for James Galway,
Jessie Norman and others)

American Suite was awarded an honorable mention in the 2004 National Flute Association's "New Published Music For Flute" competition.

The five movements of American Suite are in contrasting tempi and character, ranging from the syncopated, energetic music of the first and fifth movements to the jazz-inspired ballad of the fourth movement. A recital piece for professionals and advanced students, it offers challenges and rich musical rewards to both the pianist and flutist. True to its title, elements of bluegrass, jazz and classical music, focused into an original and compelling voice by the composer, make the work uniquely American.

American Suite was composed in 2001 for flutist Kaori Fujii and pianist Yuko Fujii, who premiered the work in Tokyo the same year. Their recording of the work is included on Muse, available on line from Centaur Records. The U.S. premiere was in 2009 by flutist Linda Chatterton. The 4th movement, Blue, has been performed and recorded by Paula Robinson.

Bruce Stark prepared this revised edition in 2013, in response to numerous performances.
Muse

Program Notes
The respective movements of American Suite were inspired by places I lived in or visited during my youth and young adulthood which left lasting impressions. This is a work which, had I not moved to another country, I probably would not have composed. The most inspiring or impressive memories of one's homeland grow more precious with time and great distance.

Both of my grandfathers were amatuer fiddle players, and the memory of their joy in music making, the happiness I saw on their faces when I was a young boy, stays with me to this day. The celtic influence in my Scottish and Irish roots can be felt in Grampa's Grin, and at one point in the movement a brief quote from Little Brown Jug--one of their favorite tunes--appears.

The Bird And The Canyon was inspired by dawn at the Grand Canyon. The striking contrast between a fragile creature stirring in the crisp, cool air of early morning and the vast, ancient, inexorable presence of the canyon seemed perfectly suited to a flute and piano duet.

During my college days I visited several places in which music seemed to fill me as though the very air was suffused with an inspiring presence. In Muse, three such places are depicted: the desert near Phoenix, Arizona; a glacial lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California; the beach at night at La Jolla Shores, California.

I lived in Manhattan from 1982-1989, and at the time of its writing, Blue was intended to depict the city late at night. However, shortly after its composition, the tragic events of September 11, 2001 took place, and the movement has now taken on another meaning for me, in memory of the many individuals who died on that day. Blue is a requiem for a city in mourning.

Street Beats depicts the bustling, aggressive streets of morning in New York.

- Bruce Stark