(bMiles City, MT, 21 Jan 1937). American composer and pianist. He studied at Columbia University (DMA 1972), where his teachers included Ussachevsky, Luening and Beeson. In 1977 he was appointed chair of the department of musicianship studies and composition at DePaul University's School of Music, Chicago. During the 1960s he collaborated with John Cage and Dick Higgins in New York, helping to define what the Fluxus movement called ‘danger music’.
Flynn's music is propelled by the repetition in many time scales of similar gestures, loosely anchored around specific pitches and pitch-class aggregates. These gestures are related to kinaesthetic motions and postures, rather than to visual images. His piano music is intensely active and poses unprecedented kinematic challenges, such as the body trills in the second of the Preludes (1965, rev. 1994). Few can equal his keyboard virtuosity, especially in performances of his own works. A preoccupation with large forms and an aversion to notational complexity link Flynn to Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji and Cecil Taylor, rather than to Xenakis and Ferneyhough. Much of his work reacts against political and historical events.
Orch: Mrs Brown, chbr orch, tape, 1965; Music for Orch (Sym. no.1), 1966; Tirades and Dreams, nar, S, chbr orch, 1972; Meditations, Praises, 1981; Sym. no.2, 1981; Coloration, chbr orch, 1983; Focus, chbr orch, 1983; Quietude, small orch, 1983; Lost and Found, youth orch, 1984; A Reign of Love, nar, orch, 1992; The Density of Memory, cl trio, orch, 1997; Surfaces, chbr orch, 1997
Vocal: Benedictus, SAT, 1962; Christmas Fanfare, SSAATB, 1972; Ave Maria, SA, opt. pf, 1973; Ave Maria, SSAA, 1973; Lady of Silences, SSA, 1973; Songs of Destruction, S, pf, 1973–4; Dies sanctificatus, SA, pf, 1976; Agnus Dei, SA, 1977; Dawn, SSAATTBB, 1977; Dusk, SSAATTBB, 1977; Kyrie, SA, 1977; American Voices, mixed vv, hn, pf, 1983; St Vincent's Words, SATB, 8 brass, 2 db, 1995
Chbr and solo inst: Pf Qt, 1963; Solos and Duos, vn, pf, 1964; 4 Pieces, vn, pf, 1965; Ww Qnt, 1965, rev. 1983; Duo, cl, pf, 1966; Duo, tpt, pf, 1974; Duo, va, pf, 1974, rev. 1995; American Rest, cl, va, vc, pf, 1975, rev. 1982, 1984; American Festivals and Dreams, str qt, 1976; Duo, vc, pf, 1977; 4 Dances, various qt, 1978; Duo, vn, pf, 1979; Celebration, vn, pf, 1980; Sax Qt, 1980, rev. 1982; Fantasy-Etudes, vn, 1981; Diversion, fl, cl, vn, vc, pf, 1984; American Summer, vn, vc, pf, 1986; Disquietude and Lullaby, cl, va, vc, pf, 1986; Turmoil and Lullabies, cl, va, vc, pf, 1986; Diversions, 5ww, 1988; 'Til Death, vn, pf, 1988; Who Shall Inherit the Earth?, cl, vn, 2 pf, 1989; Forms of Flight, cl, 1991; The Streets are Empty, sax qt, 1992
K.Johnson: ‘Ten Minutes of Music’, Chicago Reader, x/41 (1981), 1, 28–34 [interview]
K.Derus: ‘Listening to Kanal’, Finnadar 90864 LP (1987) [disc notes]
(b Militello, Sicily, 25 Nov 1961). Italian soprano. She studied with Elio Battaglia in Turin, where she made her début in 1986 as Oscar in Un ballo in maschera. In that year she also won the Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia. The clarity of her voice and the charm of her youthful appearance helped to fit her ideally for the lighter Mozart roles and others such as Norina in Don Pasquale and Nannetta in Falstaff, which she sang at Covent Garden in 1988. In the first five years of her career Focile sang in many of the major Italian houses, including La Scala, and was a frequent visitor to the USA and Britain, where she was particularly popular with the WNO. In Paris her roles have included Tatyana in Yevgeny Onegin (1992) and Gounod’s Juliet (1994). The voice gaining weight, she has added roles such as Amelia Boccanegra and Butterfly, and also developed her concert repertory. She has made some solo recordings but is probably heard best as Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro with Mackerras and as a delightful Eleonora in Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais.
Fock, Gerard(us Hubertus Galenus) von Brucken.
SeeBrucken Fock, Gerard von.
(b Danzig, 17 Aug 1747; dAmsterdam, 7 April 1796). Dutch composer, organist and carillonneur. His parents were Mennonites from Haarlem who lived in Danzig from 1739 to 1752, when they moved to Amsterdam. Focking was blind, and it may be assumed that he received his musical instruction from the blind organist Jacob Potholt. From 1769 until his death he was carillonneur at the Oude Kerk and the Regulierstoren (now Munttoren), Amsterdam. In 1780 he became organist of one of the Mennonite communities in Amsterdam, the one usually called ‘bij het Lam en bij de Toren’, after the locations of its churches. In 1780 only the church ‘bij het Lam’ (‘near the Dram’, a brewery on the Singel) had an organ, an instrument by J.S. Strumphler (inaugurated in 1777). In 1786 another organ by Strumphler was installed in the church ‘bij de Toren’ (‘near the Tower’, the Jan Rodenpoort Tower), and Focking probably also played on that instrument. Focking taught the well-known blind Amsterdam organist and carillonneur Daniël Brachthuyzer (1779–1832). His son Cornelis Focking (1770) was also an organist.
Focking's only known compositions are the VI sonates pour le flute traverse solo, avec une basse continuo, oeuvre première (Amsterdam, c1765–9/R; 1 ed. H. Schouwman, Amsterdam, 1956). They follow the pattern of the mid-18th-century three-movement solo sonata, beginning with a binary movement in a moderate tempo, followed by a fast binary movement and concluding with an air or minuet, often with variations. Their style resembles that of North German composers such as C.P.E. Bach, Kirnberger and Müthel, and sometimes echoes from his teacher's teacher, Locatelli, can be heard. Though attractive and well-composed, Focking's sonatas are, on the whole, quite simple and not very imaginative. They were published privately by the composer, lack a dedication and are undated.
R.A.Rasch: Het honderd componistenboek, ed. P.-U. Hiu and J. van der Klis (Haarlem and Hilversum, 1997)