Your Pick of Piccolo

Your Pick of Piccolo March 2, 2018

Somehow if one Googles “piccolo” the top result will tell you that “Piccolo is a very tall and muscular Namekian…” For those interested in the musical instrument, some results along those lines do also follow shortly after. There is in fact a lot of really wonderful music for piccolo. One example is Daniel Dorff’s “Sonatine de Giverny”:

Another is Michael Daugherty’s “The High and the Mighty”:

And here’s Willard Elliot’s “Fantasy for Piccolo and Piano”:

All of the above pieces are ones that I discovered relatively recently, through the album Take Wing featuring Lois Bliss Herbine on piccolo. But a longstanding favorite of mine is Lowell Liebermann’s Piccolo Concerto:

I also got to hear and appreciate the importance of the piccolo in the context of the orchestra or wind ensemble as a whole, in performances of John Williams’ music that I had the privilege of hearing performed live – in one case in a performance by a local high school wind ensemble, in the other in a performance by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by none other than John Williams himself! If you’re interested in seeing photos from that latter event, you might want to connect with me on Facebook and/or Instagram. I shared quite a few photos, not just of John Williams and the orchestra at the end of the concert, but also myself among various cosplayers from the Star Wars universe.

The piccolo is certainly an underappreciated instrument, just as are many at the opposite end of the spectrum. But leave out the piccolos and the tubas and you will immediately hear just how impoverished music can sound without the highest and lowest registers.

For those who are interested in both meanings of Piccolo, I did come across a picture of Piccolo playing the piccolo, created by artist BlackHellCat.

piccolo_playing_piccolo_by_blackhellcat

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