Misprint in Flagello’s Berceuse?

Posted In: Repertoire

  • Participant
    le_sacre on #255631

    Can someone familiar with “Berceuse” by Nicolas Flagello help me figure out this apparent misprint?

    I’m playing from Lucile Lawrence’s collection, “Solos for the Harp Player”, and the offending passage may be found at the bottom of page 49, third (last) measure, the chord in the left hand on beat 1.

    I didn’t even realize for a long time that I wasn’t playing what was on the page. What I was doing (without thinking) was playing the chord in its notated clef and register but ignoring the printed accidentals: [A E G Bb] instead of the printed [A E Gb B#]. Note that as printed this is not harp-friendly notation (simultaneous Gb and G natural, Bb and B#) but possible with enharmonics Cnatural for B# and F# for Gb — but I doubt Lawrence would have selected that editing choice!

    I wonder if what’s intended is one of the following:

      a missing bass clef symbol just for that chord: [C G Bb D#]. Jarringly low register.
      as if it were notated in bass clef [C G Bb D#], but two octaves higher (same register as the LH chord in the 1st measure of that system). There’s a logic to that in the upward progression of the sequence in both hands.
      as I have been playing it (ignoring the printed accidentals and going by the pedals): [A E G Bb]

    In any case I believe the remainder of the bar is proper as written, in treble clef.

    Unfortunately in the modern, swirly aural palette of this section, my ear/analysis does not help me much. I have a slight preference for option 3, but that might just be because that’s what I’ve been hearing as I practiced. I have found student recordings on YouTube that didn’t seem like reliable sources, and one single recording on Spotify, by Carolyn Mills (Préludes & Romances, 2018) that as far as I can tell seems to play it like my option 3, but I could be wrong.

    It’s a wonderful little piece! I’d like to do justice to the composer’s intention. Does anyone have an edition outside the Lawrence collection?

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #255702

    I discussed this with Miss Lawrence, and she said that Flagello saw the final copy and did not ask for any changes. The accidentals are wrong, but just play it as written. Those chords are not in the bass, so even though it would make the accidentals correct, the jump from treble to bass does not make sense. The tonality of the passage is extended anyway. Kathleen Bride published an article in the American Harp Journal discussing supposed misprints, but as mentioned, the composer did not ask for any corrections at the time of publication. It is not easy on the ear, but that’s the style. European lullabyes tend to be rather grim and nightmarish at times.

    le_sacre on #255711

    Wow Saul, thank you, that’s so helpful! Nightmarish European lullabyes are definitely my favorite kind. I’m so glad Miss Lawrence included it in her collection.

    MusikFind1 on #255959

    Berceuse <1964>
    Dur: 3′
    Harp solo
    Pub: Maelos H2 $6.00
    P.O. BOX 363
    NEW ROCHELLE, NY 10801
    order form http://www.flagello.com/orders.htm

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #256027

    That’s odd, as it is in Solos for the Harp Player, edited by Lucile Lawrence, which has never gone out of print. Are there any differences between the editions?

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #256313

    I had never noticed this before! Being a composer myself, I can safely say that one can miss a mistake like this and send it to the publisher. I suspect that the chord is to be played in the bass clef, then the treble clef is reinstated for the eighth notes that follow. If he wrote those accidentals in, it can only work in the bass clef. It makes sense to me, because the same figure happens two bars later in bar 27, with the chord in the bass clef.

    Saul Davis Zlatkovski on #256448

    I have tried all the possible resolutions if indeed that was a misprint and none of them work any better. I also went over them with Miss Lawrence, who rejected them. Play it as written.

    Elizabeth Volpé Bligh on #256480

    Let’s agree to disagree.

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