Robert Fleming (1927-1976) was born in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In 1937 he went to to England to study piano and composition at the Royal College of Music. He returned to Saskatoon, and later studied composition with Healy Willan at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. In 1946 he was hired as staff composer for the National Film board, later becoming music director of the NFB.
Level: High School
Examine the music here, while listening to the recording of Recollections, performed by violinist John Lowry and pianist Elizabeth Bergmann. While listening, on your copy of the music:
- Identify and mark the phrases played by piano. How many measures long is each “musical sentence”?
- Note the tempo fluctuations in the music. Are there any tempo changes that are not marked on the score? Why would performers add tempo changes beyond the markings of the composer?
- How is range (often referred to by musicians as tessitura) used to great effect by the composer of the piece? What impact does higher or lower range have on the listener?
- Violinist John Lowry uses vibrato in some places. Using a pencil, make note of where he uses it, and how wide the vibrato is. Why does he use this technique?