Bucalossi – Grasshoppers’ Dance

FP330 Ernest Bucalossi Grasshoppers’ Dance Two Flutes and Piano Grade 6 3′ 15″

Ernest Bucalossi (1863? – 1933), was a conductor and composer who specialised in light music. He became music director at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1881 and also directed at various other theatres until 1928. Other information on him is sketchy.

Bucalossi’s compositions are mainly dances and descriptive pieces, which are now sadly confined to the attic. However, Grasshoppers’ Dance, from 1905, has weatherered the changeable nature of musical taste. This is, in no small part, thanks to the chirpy recording by Jack Hylton and his Orchestra made about 1933 and its use, sixty years later, in the milk advert where the dancing milkbottles follow the mikman and then plonk themselves on the doorsteps.

As far as this FlutePlay arrangement is concerned, the flutes often play in 3rds and 6ths, the piano supporting in a generally “um-cha” rôle with some stronger rhythmic chords later. Unusually, flutter tonguing is called for in both flutes in the final presto. There are fairly frequent accidentals in all parts, but the standard of difficulty overall is around Grade VI for both flutes and piano.

Because of the piece’s immediately attractive and humorous nature, its medium degree of difficulty for all concerned and its modest length of about three and a half minutes, it would make an ideal choice for a school concert or festival own-choice piece.

Many thanks to Kelly Patton for permission to use her fine picture of a fluteplaying grasshopper.

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