Chester Flute Anthology
For flute and piano
Performance notes by Trevor Wye
Published by Chester Music
Includes score and flute part
14 popular works for flute with piano accompaniment featuring selected works from the major exam board syllabuses, spanning Grades 5 to 8 and beyond.
Malcom Arnold – Sonatina for Recorder and Piano, Op. 41: III. Rondo
Johann Sebastian Bach – Sonata No. 6, BWV 1035: I. Adagio ma non tanto and II. Allegro
Richard Rodney Bennett – Six Tunes for the Instruction of Singing-Birds: VI. For the Starling
Lennox Berkeley – Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 97: III. Allegro
Eugene Bozza – Cinq Chansons sur des Themes Japonais pour Flute et Piano: III. Les Eaux de Kasatu
Claude Debussy – Syrinx
Gabriel Faure – Fantaisie, Op. 79
Benjamin Godard – Suite de Trois Morceaux: I. Allegretto
Francois-Joseph Gossec – Tambourin
Bohuslav Martinu – First Sonata for Flute and Piano: I. Allegro moderato
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Flute Concerto in D Major, K. 314: I. Allegro aperto
Francis Poulenc – Sonata for Flute and Piano: I. Allegretto malincolico
Sergei Rachmaninov – Vocalise, Op. 34 No. 14
Albert Roussel – Aria
This collection contains some of the most famous and popular pieces in the flute repertoire, ranging from Bach to Bennett. Great Britain is well represented here, in the music of Arnold, Bennett and Berkeley, and almost half of the collection is by French composers, reflecting their great influence on the performing world. Historically, composers consider the flute either as a voice suited to bird imitation, or to reflect on and characterise grief; Handel uses the flute to represent pastoral scenes with bird calls whilst Bach offers a flute solo before the crucifixion of Jesus, portraying great sadness. In this collection there are both twitterings and lovely tunes, an assortment also well fitted for examination purposes. The most popular pieces will no doubt be Bach's Sonata No. 6, Mozart's Flute Concerto in D and Debussy's Syrinx.
A great performance begins with good basics such as technique, tone, intonation and articulation, but taking it to the next level requires an imaginative and stylistic interpretation of what the composer has written. Listening to other players can help, but it is also a mistake to copy another player's performance. It is tempting to use the internet for this research, however it does contain opinions which are taken for facts and can seriously mislead the performer. An example is the statement that Debussy's Syrinx was originally written without bar lines – totally untrue. That in itself wouldn't matter too much except that the writer follows on with the suggestion that it can be played freely and without caring too much for the rhythm – something inexperienced players would take as the truth. If Debussy wanted double-dotted notes, he was quite capable of writing them! The famous flute player, Marcel Moyse – who knew Debussy – often said 'Play the music and not the flute!'
When choosing editions, take care over interpreting editorial suggestions, particularly with eighteenth-century music. If the piece is accompanied, a study of the full score is a must, as it contains the full story. Some pieces have a continuo accompaniment, such as the Bach Sonata – in this case, a supporting bass and harmony. The Godard accompaniment in the first movement also has just a supporting role. Other piano parts, such as the Poulenc and Faure, are in effect a duet – the flute interacting with the piano as if in conversation. Sometimes the piano has the important part, with the flute merely accompanying it. An actor will learn his lines from the full script, otherwise his own lines wouldn't make much sense out of context. Similarly, the pianist is not just accompanying but an equal duo partner. After all, the pianist has many more notes to play!
This collection comprises pieces from the serious and thoughtful to the light-hearted. I hope that these short comments (see Notes) will help you with your preparation.
— Trevor Wye