In this post, I will write about the flute compositions I’ve listen to, which include my brief thoughts about each piece. While I did concentrate on the solo items, I also listened to pieces that include orchestral or piano accompaniment, and I even added some orchestral/ensemble/chamber pieces, but only because they contain fragments with interesting flute parts. Also, read my research about the instrument itself here.
Unaccompanied Solo Flute
Friedrich Kuhlau – 3 Fantaisies for Solo Flute, Op.38
I heard a movement from one of the fantasies on a concert few years ago. Kuhlau, who is often called “the Beethoven of the flute”, is a composer from the Classic and Romantic era, so I generally knew what to expect in terms of melodic and harmonic motion. Still, these fantasies didn’t fail to surprise me in a few places, and I feel that they presented a nice introduction to phrasing and expression of the flute, as well as showing me its virtuosic possibilities. I certainly learned a lot from the way the pieces are notated, especially in regards to utilizing the range of the instrument. I really enjoyed the dramatic adagios, and I instantly recognized the melody of the theme-and-variation finale of the first fantasy – Mozart’s aria from Don Giovanni. Take a look at my analysis here.
Friendrich Kuhlau – Twelve Caprices, Op. 10b
While searching for Kuhlau’s fantasies, I also came across his twelve caprices with theme-and-variation movements. However, I couldn’t find the score, beside the theme-and-variations book, and there is barely any recording online beside the first three caprices. I only managed to find a video on youtube with the sheet music for the first caprice with a recording here. I find the form of the piece very interesting, and I like that he used Polonaise dance, which I was planning to research about.
Nikolai Platanov – 30 Studies for Flute Solo
I wanted to take a look at some etudes for flute, when I found this book of 30 studies. I glanced through the whole score, and found no. 24 interesting because of 5/8 time signature, but I only found no. 14 to listen to. Either way, no. 14 is a nice piece in a pretty standard aba1 form with a coda at the end. The lively a is in Bb major, and the contrasting, calmer b part starts in relative g minor and then modulates through different tonalities to arrive back to Bb major of a1, which is a bit varied.
Eugène Bozza – Image for Flute Alone
I absolutely adored this one! It really showed off amazing capabilities flute has in terms of technique, and I especially enjoyed the rich coloring in sound i.e. timbral changes, which I read was done by flutter tonguing, extreme range and multi-phonics. It’s also interesting to note that Bozza often re-uses the same theme in different compositions. The image is an example of this, borrowing this material to compose the very similar Piece Breve and Improvisations et Caprice for solo saxophone. I love the changing meter, chromaticism, rubato and many of the impressionistic elements in this memorable twentieth-century piece.
Claude Debussy – Syrinx
Accompanied Solo Flute
Friedrich Kuhlau – 6 Divertissements, Op.68
Theobald Boehm – Nel cor più, Op. 4
Joueurs de flûte (The Flute Players), Op. 27
I especially enjoyed the overall form, with the pieces named after a flute player from literature and each dedicated to a flutist of Roussel’s time. I love the Dorian mode of the Pan piece, while the scherzo-like Tytire, despite being the shortest, ended up being my favorite. In Krishna, Roussel uses the North-Indian musical scale Raga Shree in 7/8. I already started my research on the Hindustani scales, and this definitely inspired me to go on. I also liked the phrasing in Monsieur de la Péjaudie
Eugène Bozza – Agrestide for Flute and Piano, Op. 44
Another Bozza’s piece.