Faà di Bruno, Giovanni Matteo [Horatio, Orazio] 83

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Flanagan, William

(b Detroit, MI, 14 Aug 1923; d New York, 31 Aug 1969). American composer and music critic. He came comparatively late to music, his first college education having been directed towards a career in journalism. In 1945 he went to the Eastman School of Music to study with Bernard Rogers and Burrill Phillips. At the Berkshire Music Center in 1947–8 he worked with Barber, Honegger and most particularly Copland, who became his major influence. He also studied intensively with David Diamond in New York for two years. In the mid-1950s, on the strength of his earlier education, he became a critic for the New York Herald Tribune, wrote also for periodicals such as Musical Quarterly and finally became permanent critic for Stereo Review. He was among the most skilful and caustic verbal commentators on music in the USA.

Flanagan’s diversified musical instruction, however, never yielded a stable technique for structure or orchestration in his compositions; he had a natural bent towards the pure idea rather than the manipulation of that idea. Thus he preferred and excelled in the smaller vocal forms. His vocal works flow with a natural grace attractive to singers and are settings of the best of English-language poetry, usually of sombre content. The Ice Age was commissioned by the New York City Opera and Silences by the Thorne Foundation.

If Flanagan was indifferent to innovation for its own sake, he was passionately concerned with language and felt that American composers would never fully realize themselves until they came to grips with native inflection. It may safely be said that Flanagan, through both his warm music and his cool intellect, was directly responsible for the oral style in the early plays of his close friend Edward Albee, with whom he collaborated on several projects.

Flanagan’s songs seem to be written with the soaring ease characteristic of many prolific composers; actually they are few and were produced with an anxiety which, coupled with the increasing stress of being an unappreciated conservative in a time of artistic upheaval, was partly responsible for his suicide.


Ops: Bartleby (1, J. Hinton and E. Albee, after H. Melville), 1952–7; The Ice Age (Albee), 1967, inc.

Orch: A Concert Ov., 1948; Divertimento, 1948; A Concert Ode, 1951; Notations, 1960; Narrative, 1964

Chbr and solo inst: Divertimento, str qt, 1947; Passacaglia, pf, 1947; Chaconne, vn, pf, 1948; Suite from The Climate of New York, pf duet, 1949, orchd 1960 [film score]; Pf Sonata, 1950

Songs, 1v, pf: After Long Silence (W.B. Yeats), 1946; The Dugout (S. Sassoon), 1946; Buffalo Bill (e.e. cummings), 1947; Autumn Song (N. Rorem), 1948; Heaven Haven (G.M. Hopkins), 1948; Go, and Catch a Falling Star (J. Donne), 1949; Send home my long strayed eyes (Donne), 1949; A Valentine to Sherwood Anderson (G. Stein), 1949; A Very Little Snail (Stein), 1949; Song for a Winter Child (Albee), 1950–60; Times Long Ago (H. Melville), 6 songs, 1951; Moss (H. Moss): If you Can, See how they Love Me, The Upside-down Man, Plants cannot Travel, Horror Show, 1959–62

Other vocal: The Waters of Babylon (Bible), vv, str qt, 1947; Billy in the Darbies (Melville), SATB, pf/orch, 1949; A Woman of Valor (Bible), SATB, 1949; The Weeping Pleiades (A.E. Housman), B, fl, cl, vn, vc, pf, 1953; Goodbye, my Fancy (W. Whitman), 1v, fl, gui, 1959; The Lady of Tearful Regret (Albee), S, Bar, fl, cl, str qt, pf, 1959; King Midas, solo vv, orch, ?1961; Chapter from Ecclesiastes, SATB, str qnt, 1962; Another August (J. Merrill), S, pf, hpd, small orch, 1966; Silences (Moss), female vv, orch, inc.

Incid music to 4 plays by Albee: The Sandbox, perf. 1960, The Death of Bessie Smith, perf. 1961, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe, perf. 1961, Malcolm, perf. 1966; 2 film scores


Principal publishers: Peters, Southern


E. Albee: ‘William Flanagan’, ACA Bulletin, ix/4 (1961), 12–13

Compositores de América/Composers of the Americas, xii, ed. Pan American Union (Washington DC, 1966)

N. Rorem: ‘Flanagan’, Music and People (New York, 1968), 89–98

Obituary, New York Times (2 Sept 1969)

L. Trimble: ‘William Flanagan (1923–1969): an Appreciation’, Stereo Review, xxiii/5 (1969), 118 only

N. Rorem: ‘Bill Flanagan: an Epitaph’, Critical Affairs: a Composer’s Journal (New York, 1970), 119–22


Flanders, Michael.

English lyricist and performer. See under Swann, Donald.

Flandrus, Arnoldus

(d after 1607). Flemish composer and organist active in Italy. He can possibly be identified with Arnoldo Fiamengo. He was a monk and was organist at Tolmezzo, north of Udine. He published Sacrae cantiones … liber primus (Venice, 1595), for four voices, and the seven-part Missa solemne … intitulata Si fortuna favet (Dillingen, 1608). A book of five-part madrigals (1608) referred to in 17th-century catalogues is lost. There are two eight-part manuscript motets by him (in D-Bsb). A three-part laude by Arnoldo Fiamengo (in RISM 15996) may be by him. (EitnerQ (‘Arnoldus Flandrus’); Vander StraetenMPB, i, vi; VannesD)



The effect of a type of signal processing unit on electronically produced sound: an enhanced form of ‘phasing’. The unit is often operated by means of a foot-pedal. See Electric guitar, §2.

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