Pierre Boulez Dialogue de l’Ombre Double for flute/bass flute

Adapting, recording and releasing the flute/bass flute version of Boulez’ Dialogue de l’Ombre Double has been a ten year labor of love (and frustration). The mischievous flutist inside me listened to this clarinet piece and thought, why doesn’t Boulez write for flute this way? Not to disparage his wonderful works for flute, but his Dialogue has such contrasting characters who are so articulate and moving in ways that his flute characters are not.

In 2007 I received permission from Boulez to attempt a version. After completing the score and several performances, the version never received acknowledgement, but it received no prohibition, which I took as an OK to continue. Now the necessary permissions have been received for the recording, which I am proud to announce is available here:

Pierre Boulez, Dialogue de l’ombre double, version for flute and bass flute

The score is not available commercially. Please contact me if you are interested in taking a look at it. It has not been fully edited, there are some odd enharmonic spellings of notes due to transposition.

Some comments about the flute/bass flute version: I originally wanted to make a version for just the bass flute. While I think this may be technically possible, I was too frustrated by the instability of the intonation of the upper register. Maybe on today’s bass flutes, with narrower bores, this would be less of a problem. The bass flute has also less scope for dynamics than the clarinet. This is not surprising, clarinet making and performers have had generations to develop their art. Bass flute making and playing is still in its early generations – although Eva Kingma and Kotato are making wonderful headway. So I decided to switch from flute to bass flute between movements (although I attempted to do so in a way that is not monotonously predictable, I hope) in order to play in tune and to emphasize the changes of character.

I would like to take the opportunity here to thank Melvyn Poore, who recorded the initial, final, and the transitions, and performed the electronic parts in concert with me. He also made the recording which is now available. Thanks also to Hendrik Manook who did the final mastering. A big thank you to Mark Steinhäuser, who transcribed and transposed the score for me.






3 responses to “Pierre Boulez Dialogue de l’Ombre Double for flute/bass flute”

  1. Hannah Reardon-Smith Avatar

    More amazingness! I share your frustration at some of Boulez’ flute writing, beautiful as it is, and this is certainly full of a different vibrancy. Thanks once again for all you do for us fluters Helen!

  2. James Strauss Avatar

    Dear Helen,

    Bravo, Fantastic Job! I would love to give a look at the score if it’s possible!

    Thanks in advance,


    1. admin Avatar

      Thanks James! I will get in touch with you in the next few days.

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