Category Archives: Building A Flute Library

Composer Profile: Geoff Eales

Geoff EalesIt is fortunate for us flute players that jazz pianist-composer Geoff Eales and the talented Andy Findon are such good friends. As a direct result of their collaboration for the CD The Dancing Flute, we now have some of the best flute jazz music to play for ourselves.

Eales studied composition with Alun Hoddinott and wrote award-winning large-scale orchestral works before he became more interested in jazz. His stellar career since then has enabled him to carve out a niche as an improviser, and it is these two aspects of his style that underpin all his works for the flute.

He certainly knows how to write dreamy melodies. Song For My Mother is beautiful, with a simple tune over a sustained accompaniment. There is no big technical challenge here but the 16-bar piano intro sets a relaxed ambience for the whole piece. There is a real feeling of freedom in the flute writing which is quite enchanting.

Remembrance is in a similar stylem but the minor key adds darker sonorities. This is captivating, drawing you in as you play – absolutely lovely!

If you’re in the mood for something upbeat, Eternal Dance is rhythmically tough with 7/8 alternating with 5/4 in the manner of Bartók (the metronome marking is 162, so this is a real workout!). In a completely different style is Elf Dance. Here three fast and furious sections alternating 6/8, 3/4 and 5/4 contrast with something slightly more lyrical to produce an exciting piece that’s always on the move. Farewell Patagonia is different again with a driving tango rhythm taking us to South America. In all of these works the piano is so important, and there are frequent improvisatory-style piano introductions and breaks. This makes the performances even better!

Geoff has also written repertoire for other members of the flute family: there isn’t much original music for penny whistle, so In The Eyes Of A Child is very special. A simple lullaby in waltz time, this is a piece that wonderfully captures the innocence of youth. You can of course play this on the flute but it really does sound great on a quality whistle!

This could not contrast more starkly with Force 11 for piccolo and piano. The performance direction for the opening improvised section here is manically and atonally and this leads on to the notated main body of the work that is marked demonic! This will stretch even the most accomplished player with its extreme range and relentlessly changing times. Intensely fun!

For low flutes, Geoff has written us two gems. Lochria’s Rhumba for alto flute and piano is a real fusion of styles. The mysterious melody is based on the Locrian mode and weaves its way enticingly around the lower reaches of the alto. The accompaniment adds a slow rhumba to the texture. The result is another laid-back and free work that casts an evocative spell over the audience. His work for bass flute and piano is Ice Maiden, another hypnotic piece which is again really sultry. The pulse is more clearly defined here with gentle syncopation in the piano allowing the sensuous sound of the bass flute space to sing the rich melody. Both these pieces are extremely well crafted for each specific instrument, using it to its maximum effect and reflecting the individual character.

Jazz for flute doesn’t come much better than this. Geoff and Andy – thank you!

Geoff Eales’s music is published by Astute Music and is available from Just Flutes.

Trubcher Publishing

Publisher Profile: Trübcher Publishing

Roz Trübger, founder of Trübcher Publishing, is very enterprising and clearly loves the flute. She has an impressive catalogue of music to her credit with a wide spread of titles. Educational resources, obscure repertoire and ensemble music are her three main niches, and every book has either an accompanying CD or an online audio clip to help you along.

A Listers’ is a highly respected series which aims to facilitate the learning process of core repertoire. All the pieces come with a standard flute part edited by Trübger herself, a piano score, a second flute part and a CD with a 2-speed playalong. Teachers who have limited keyboard skills obviously find this format invaluable, but there is also the advantage of being able to play these pieces as flute duets with or without accompaniment. Meanwhile, the dual speed CD backing tracks help with home practice.

A-Listers features important works such as sonatas by Bach and Handel, concertos by Mozart, Vivaldi, Quantz and Gluck as well as single pieces such as the Fauré Sicilienne, all of which are vital in the building of a strong flute foundation. This collection is a good way to teach this mainstream repertoire.

Trübger has unearthed some real gems for her ‘Forgotten Music‘ series. Again, each title is fully supported by an audio resource, which although computer generated, does give you confidence that you are in the right area. Little-known composers such as Macfarren and Graeff might entice you, and there are other gems that time has forgotten. The Romance in A by the English amateur flute player James Mathews is a wonderful piece, written in 1868 in a Romantic style and beautifully straightforward to play. It’s worth the money for the front cover alone, as the photo of Mathews with his extraordinary gold flute is quite something! The highlight of the series so far however, has to be the Romance by Alfred Bruneau. Written in about 1884, he has accompanied his sumptuous melody with a flowing accompaniment. Pure French pleasure!

As you might expect, Trübger’s arrangements for flute ensemble all work extremely well. She really knows how to handle the spacing of the instruments, which is so important to the success of any transcription. Her choice of repertoire is intelligent, with a wide range of styles to choose from. You could start with the Widor Toccata for four piccolos – not an obvious choice of instrumentation perhaps, but one that is highly effective in the right hands! The famous semiquaver theme is evenly distributed between all four parts encouraging listening skills to develop both accuracy and intonation. The audio clips are again electronic and the speeds chosen are deliberately quite slow. Here, this results in quite a pretty sounding performance but acoustically the piece offers a great deal in terms of skill and stamina, not to mention entertainment!

Von Suppe’s Pique Dame Overture is another excellent arrangement. This is for 6 flutes and the addition of piccolo, alto and bass, together with optional cymbals, gives added scope for textural variety. The style is easy to access and the writing straightforward, with just the right amount of independence in the parts. Both the piccolo and bass flute are less busy than the rest which is good both technically and aurally. The G major key and familiar rhythms also help here, and although 6 parts can seem daunting at first, the overriding aim is to give confidence to developing players as they tackle more substantial works.

If you are feeling yet more adventurous try Six Sweets by Marin Rabadan for 5 flutes and alto flute. Don’t let the title here lull you into a false sense of security: this should be played at helter-skelter speed with all six instruments cascading around the opening section! The central blues is more restrained and the closing vivo has great rhythmic drive. The style is jazz, the ensemble needs to be very tight. It’s a fantastic workout!

Whatever you choose to play from this lovely and very individual publisher, satisfaction is almost certainly guaranteed!

image-wm-1-flute-concerto-nielsen cover

Building a Flute Library: Exploring Edition Svitzer

Edition Svitzer is a relative newcomer to the world of flute publishing. Set up in 2001, the flute catalogue is under the experienced eye of Henrik Svitzer, one of the two brothers running this family firm together with their father. All three have worked professionally as musicians, and Henrik studied with Marcel Moyse in the US before holding the position of principal flute in the Royal Danish Orchestra for 21 years. He is now professor at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music, and his experience in the flute world has proven to be a fantastic basis on which to produce a beautifully produced, intelligently sourced flute catalogue.

Nielsen Flute ConcertoAs this is a Danish company, the music of Nielsen is well represented in the Svitzer catalogue. The famous Flute Concerto is edited by András Adorján, and is probably the best version on the market at the moment. Its unique selling point is that it includes two copies of the solo flute part: the first version has all the important orchestral writing cued on a separate stave, whilst the second version has the orchestral writing arranged for a second flute. This has the obvious advantage of being able to get to know the score completely before standing in front of the orchestra. Care has been taken to highlight the important orchestral lines in both harmony parts and in the piano reduction, which has been made a little less exacting. Altogether this is a very impressive edition and well worth investigating.

Nielsen Concerto - Score Sample

Hot off the press are two brand new volumes of Orchestral Excerpts arranged for 4 flutes. All the major flute solos are here, and although some of the extracts are short, in most cases they cover exactly the bars that might be set for a first flute audition. Flutes 2, 3 and 4 are arranged to cover the accompaniments and to put the solo into an orchestral context. For example, ‘Aus Liebe will mein Heiland sterben’ from Bach’s St Matthew Passion from Volume 1 has simply the opening phrase accompanied by an arrangement of the oboe da caccia accompaniment. This graphically illustrates just how this beautiful solo works, and will transform a student’s view of it much more effectively than just looking at the score. This aria also appears in Volume 2 in a longer form, where the first flute takes the vocal line leaving the solo to the second flute – another way of all players really getting inside the music. Arias from Mozart’s Magic Flute are also treated in this way, while the enigmatic extract from Mahler’s Ninth Symphony is brought to life by both playing the complex string writing underneath the solo and hearing how that affects performance. These books are an exciting and fresh way to bring these taxing solos to life and if the quartet is good, everyone can have a go!

Another interesting aspect of the Svitzer catalogue is the music for flute groups. An adaptation of Kuhlau’s Piano Sonatina in G major for 10 flutes (piccolo, 7 C flutes and 2 alto flutes) is already proving popular. There is a particular challenge in ensemble playing with such large numbers, and success is often down to the quality of the arrangement. Here it is outstanding. The detail of the piano writing is conveyed by the first 7 parts, with the remaining flute and alto flutes providing a strong bass line. This means that the texture is intricate but there is always something strong to hang on to, especially if you are playing one of the inner parts. The result is quite delightful and will be enjoyed by audiences and performers alike.

This is also true of Ravel’s ‘Le Tombeau de Couperin’ which has been transcribed here by Erik Norby for the so-called ‘Kuhlau Quartet’ of 2 flutes (one doubling piccolo), alto flute and bass flute. Norby was a great orchestrator and he has managed to convey nearly all of the vibrancy and colour of Ravel’s score – quite an achievement! You will need four good players for this as all the parts represent a challenge, especially for the alto and bass. This piece really works though and it’s great for flute players to have access to such a high quality arrangement.

The unusual repertoire for flute and piano listed is also intriguing. Composers such as Poznansky, Stankovych, Graesvold and Weyse are featured together with the slightly more familiar works of Morlacchi and Schneider. Svitzer’s own book of Flute Exercises is also worth a look. Aimed at the professional player with very little time to practice, he has gathered together all the essential material that he has found useful over the course of his illustrious career and set it out in a logical order with advice on how to manage it all. His preface states the ‘the exercises are also made for the love of flute playing’ – a sentiment that could be described to this entire catalogue!


Exploring The 2014 ABRSM Flute Syllabus: Grades 6 and 7

By the time we reach this more advanced level, playing skills should be at the point where the choice of repertoire is based on stylistic considerations rather than technical ones. The 2014 ABRSM syllabus reflects this, with a myriad of pieces to choose from.

The good thing here is that most of the works are originals rather than arrangements. At Grade Six, List A is dominated by Baroque composers but the inclusion of a Walckiers Scherzo in the ABRSM book and a movement from a little-known concerto by Leopold Mozart further down the list means that you also have viable alternatives. The Walckiers in particular will be very popular despite its foray into E major for the lyrical trio, and the ‘bien rhythme et avec verve’ performance direction at the start gives you a flavour of its upbeat style. The Leopold Mozart Presto is similar and perhaps more tricky, but both pieces offer a refreshing change from the ‘there’s nowhere to take a breath’ dilemma. Perhaps the most interesting Baroque piece is actually in the unaccompanied section, again in the ABRSM book, with a sensitive arrangement by Trevor Wye of a Handel Allemande in C minor.

French music is well represented in the List B pieces of both grades. The wonderful Roussel Aria will have a much wider audience as it’s now in the book, and Caplet’s dreamy Reverie is available in The Flautist’s Collection Book 3, a lovely selection of music edited by Paul Edmund-Davies. These two pieces should be on everyone’s radar! For fans of Gaubert, the Sicilienne is still with us, and it is one of his most loved pieces. When bought together with the Madrigal, it represents a very good purchase.

List B opens up still further with two pieces by living artists. The American flautist and composer Gary Schocker is starting to gather a real fan base in the UK, and Spring Energy (or Heigh Ho) from Dances and Daydreams is typical of his quirky style. Here, strong rhythm, changing metre and unexpected harmonies give the almost-familiar melody a twist. Luckily the main theme keeps recurring in various guises to help with the technique, and the ending is suitably abrupt. Another contender for Best Piece of the Syllabus is And Everything is Still… by Andy Scott. Andy is really beginning to make a name for himself, and this is one gorgeous piece. Grab a copy now and enjoy the simple melody which ‘unravels alongside delicate harmonic statements, creating a calm and gentle atmosphere.

Sticking with living composers, Rob Buckland’s Charming Snakes in the ABRSM book will really appeal to those wanting to move away from the more traditional studies for the solo piece. The exotic writing contrasts a rhythmic dance-like figure with a flowing chromatic melody to produce a compelling piece that would stand up very well in a concert.

At Grade Seven, the ABRSM book may be less appropriate, as by now students often wish to purchase complete works. However, it does still have a part to play in introducing unusual repertoire at a reasonable cost. If you missed the Popp Sonatina in C last time round, here is another chance to savour its virtuosic flute writing. You need reasonable fingers for this, but everyone enjoys flashing around in an easy key! The Sonatina by the Dutch composer Jaap Geraedts is a gem – tuneful and rhythmic, with good ensemble skills essential for a successful performance. The charm of André Caplet’s Petite Valse is embodied in the rubato, where almost every bar changes speed. An excellent choice if you have already learned the Reverie at Grade Six, these two pieces together work well in a concert. The excellent With Life (also available in Russell Stokes’ book Tricky Jazz Singles) provides the best change of style for list C.

Away from the AB book there is an even broader range of genres. The pick of the Baroque choices on List A is possibly the B minor Sonata by Telemann. This is quite a dark work, and the two set fast movements have real technical challenges, especially as the writing is all in the lower registers of the flute. The other movements are not so hard, and playing the complete sonata is perfectly possible at this level.

If you prefer something sunnier, you might like to look at the Rondo from the Sonata in D major by the nineteenth century German composer Johann Wilms. This is a lively Allegro, with a spritely theme and a brief D minor interlude. Thirds and sixths abound in the duet style writing with the piano, which helps the ensemble, and the whole piece is very approachable, not to mention enjoyable!

Two works jump out from List B. The first is an absolutely delightful Nocturne by Lily Boulanger from a bargain of an album entitled Flute Music by Female Composers. Worth the money for this wonderful vignette alone, with its beguiling melody and simple accompaniment, this rather special book contains a range of material from the Baroque to contemporary works and will hold your interest for a very long time. Fujiko in Vocalise: Songs Without Words is another good piece by Andy Scott, this time in a more obvious jazz style. Its languid melody becomes ever more improvisatory without losing its melancholy and reflective feeling. Allthe pieces in this album, edited by Clare Southworth, have a song element but they are varied and well worth dipping in to.

Another alternative to the more traditional studies set for the solo list is the Polka from Dynamic Dances by Allen Vizzutti. If you have already used this book at Grade 5, you will appreciate the rhythmic drive of these pieces which evoke the character of the dance with a modern twist.

If you want to play the Kohler Study from Op 33, you might like to purchase the duet part published separately by IMC. This adds another layer of difficulty – performing the solo version will seem very easy by comparison!

These grades are important for a developing flute player and the need for variety as well as technical development has never been more acute. There is a great deal of interesting material here, which will make the task just a little easier.

Bass Flute

Building A Flute Library: Music for Bass Flute

Bass FluteIt’s an exciting fact that bass flutes are becoming both cheaper and more widely available. Many flute groups now have one and schools and colleges are starting to use them too. The solo music written for this lovely instrument is also developing, which gives us a great opportunity to explore all its possible colours to the full.

If you are in the lucky position of having regular access to a bass flute, the best place to start is with music you already know. Keeping in the low register will help you find your balance before you venture into the higher reaches of the instrument. Baroque sonatas are a really great way to branch out, but try the Fauré Sicilienne or the easier works of Gaubert to really start exploring those expressive low sonorities.

Whilst it is still true that most original repertoire is challenging both in terms of instrumental technique and musical style, there are some pieces that are more approachable. You can always rely on Gary Schocker to come up with something appropriate, and his Small Sonata for a Large Flute is very well put together. The opening Moderato stays mainly in the low register with gentle running semiquavers, and a typical Schocker-style engimatic melody weaves its spell in the substantial slow movement Cantabile. The Snappy third movement will extend your technique considerably with the crisp rhythms needing good articulation. Flutter-tonguing and a larger note range add yet more interest.


Blessings and Celebration by Phyliss Avidan Louke is also very easy on the ear as well as the eye. Blessings is prayer-like and works really well on the bass. The rhythmic Celebration is dance-like and fun.

image-16-blessings-and-celebration-or-fl-or-afl-and-accLouke Blessings and Celebrations Alry music17042013_0000

For something more atmospheric, try Karuna by Bill Douglas. Based on the Sanskrit word for compassion, this short piece has a hypnotic quality, created by a repetitive semiquaver pattern and eastern sounding intervals. Ideally suited to the bass, this really enables you focus on its wonderful timbre.

Karuna - Low-Res Sample

At some point though you will want to start investigating the world of the more exotic. Extended techniques, accompanying electronic sound tracks, and seemingly impossible rhythmic combinations can all seem to make this part of the journey rather daunting. Yet the bass flute is ideally suited to this genre, so are here are two gems to get you started:

She Cried by Shiva Feshareki is a slow solo piece which uses simple rhythms and limited extended techniques to make it’s mark. Feshareki is very specific about sounds here, with glissandi and note bending complementing the instructions to vary the tone itself, and this is a marvellous piece for anyone to try.

Michael Oliva’s Moss Garden for bass flute and electronics will extend your range even further. You will need a decent sound system for performance but just to practise this with your computer to hand will be a great experience. There are not many notes here, but the low frequencies of the the track coupled with the bass flute sonorities enable Oliva to achieve the beautiful simplicity conveyed by the title.


And finally, the Alto and Bass Flute Resource Book by Christine Potter takes an interesting look at various aspects of both the low flutes. There are tips on buying a new flute, general playing advice and useful information about repertoire. This is full of good things that will help you on your way.

View the range of music available for bass flute at

Original Flute Trio Music for Younger Players

There is some interesting repertoire available for less experienced trio players – it isn’t always necessary to play arrangements! In this article I’ll round up some of my personal favourites.

More Fun For Flutes by Bart BakkerI’ve found that Fun for Flutes and More Fun for Flutes by Bart Bakker are very appealling to younger players. There are 6 playalong trios in each book, both of which contain CDs with good-quality backing tracks. The rhythmic writing is not always in unison, but the parts are not difficult and the CD will help confidence by holding it all together. Titles such as ‘Pacific Sunrise’ and ‘Shuffle Salad’ clearly illustrate what’s on offer here.

More Fun for Flutes - 6 Playalong Trios


Eine Kleine TiersuiteAt the other end of the spectrum you might like to try Kinder Trios Books 1 and 2 by Freidgund Gottsche-Niessner. At first glance, the short trios in Book 1 (“A Small Animal Suite”) seem quite straightforward – and indeed they are, unless you wish to add in the extended techniques. Different ways of blowing, simple multiphonics, glissandi and trills are used to great effect to portray animals as varied as fish, elephants and birds. Book 2 (“Musical Short Stories”) is more of a rhythmic workout, and the techniques are extended still further. It’s all very enjoyable and reasonably priced.


Eine Kleine Tiersuite From Kindertrios Book 1

MultiflutesMultiflutes by Gerard Méunier is another interesting collection for younger players. A part of the ‘Young Ensemble’ series, each piece increases in difficulty from the simplicity of ‘L’ancienne’, through the more rhythmic ‘Petite Fugue A Trois’ and ending with the decidedly tricky ‘Bonjour, M. Haydn’. The style is approachable whilst not exactly familiar – Méunier’s music is always interesting, and Multiflutes is no exception.

Multiflutes by Meunier

If it’s something more conventional that you’re looking for why not try Alexander Tcherepnin’s Trio. The four lovely pieces that make up this work start with the tuneful ‘Prelude’, a gentle F major Allegretto. The 2nd movement Scherzo zips along in D major and contrasts well with the ensuing Reverie which is in an atmospheric C minor. The final Dance zips along in an F minor 6/8. None of the pieces is very long and all are very appealing.

Scherzo from Trio - Tcherepnin


Sonata in D Major by QuantzIf what you would really like to play is some Baroque music though, one of the best on offer is the Quantz Sonata in D major. The opening Vivace is a real joy, and this together with the Largo, Rigaudon, Allegro and Menuet that make up the rest of the sonata have all been skilfully arranged by Pierre Paubon. This would be a great start to a concert!


Sonata in D Major by Quantz - Score

What are your favourite trios for younger players? Let us know in the comments below.

Tomasi - Trois Pastorales

Building a Flute Library: Unusual Flute Music for Three Advanced Flutes

Right now there is great deal of exciting music available for three flutes, so if you are lucky enough to belong to a good trio there is plenty to keep you interested.

Suite Pastorale by Jean-Michel Damase is a great place to start. Enigmatic harmonies underpin approachable rhythms, the Pastorale of the title being evident throughout. The second movement Pastourelle flows gently as if dreaming, the finale Rondeau is a lovely jaunt, but the first movement, Carillons, is just beautiful:

If you prefer your lyricism a little more grounded you could try any of the trios by Caspar Kummer. Trio Op.53 is wonderfully Romantic in style – pure flute music. Written in a conventional fast/slow/fast movement format, his melodies weave their magic throughout. This is a true delight.

Perhaps one of the most esoteric pieces for this combination is Morton Feldman’s Trio, written in 1972. On paper, it seems that there is little to this – just 2 pages of score containing nothing faster than a quaver or higher than a middle register G flat. The interest is in all the harmonies that clash and resolve constantly throughout:

Another compelling work which relies on texture is Celtic Knotwork by Edward McGuire. The “knotwork” effect can be easily heard by the close interweaving of all three parts. The opening Lento evokes misty mornings with bagpipes in the distance and this is followed by the more lively Slip Jig. The cadenza in canon is really effective, and the work ends as it began.

The little known trio Three Pieces for Three Flutes by Pal Rozsa is worth a look. Each of the three movements is well-constructed with a good balance of writing between the parts. The harmonies are sometimes deliberately quite bare, allowing the timbre of the flutes to prevail. Tune and accompaniment this isn’t, but it’s very appealing all the same:

Trois Pastorales by Henri Tomasi also uses some more unusual harmonies. Tomasi really knew how to write for flutes and this is full of challenges for each player. The beguiling melody in Bolivienne is passed around effectively, whilst the atmospheric Cretoise fluctuates in mood. The Sicilienne Saltorello will especially wow an audience! If you haven’t tried Tomasi before, do give this a try – even if it is at the higher price end.

Currently active composers are also taking to write for this combination, which is great news. Try Elkido Suite by Lars Floee if you like a more straightforward variety of contemporary music. Each movement here is ‘inspired by a different culture’ with Szitakoto (Bartok’s Hungary) and the Japanese Sakura both being very approachable. Balkanski Mish-Mash is more difficult, and the changing time signatures at speed will test an ensemble. Granada is a whirlwind of notes to bring the work to an exciting climax.

Last but not least, Niederau by Gary Carpenter is not for the faint-hearted! The three movements here will need some work as there is little in the way of melody or rhythmic unity to help. It’s a great piece though and will really pay dividends in the end!

This is just a small selection of repertoire available, but I hope it gives you a good starting point to explore more of the great repertoire for this combination.

The Wedding Flutist

Building A Flute Library: Music for Weddings

Spring has sprung and the temperature is rising, so it won’t be long before someone asks you to play at their wedding. There is an astonishing amount of repertoire suitable for both the church and the reception, so depending on your forces the choice is yours. Books of arrangements are really handy in this situation – you never know what might happen on The Big Day!

The most obvious combination is for flute and organ, and Sacred Solos Volume 1 arranged by Gilliam and MacCaskill will provide you with plenty of choice. Contents include Bach’s Sheep May Safely Graze, Pachelbel’s Canon and the Meditation from Thais so you should be covered for all eventualities. The accompaniments work equally well for piano, and there is the added bonus of a CD that could be used to help the couple decide what music they might like.

Wedding Music for Flute and HarpWedding Music for Flute and Harp is for you if you are a part of that classic wedding combination. Compiled by Meinir Heulyn and Katey Thomas, who have a great deal of hands on experience in this genre, the books include performance directions and advice on when you might play each piece. This is really useful again if the couple are uncertain as to exactly what music would be suitable for their occasion. As well as the usual repertoire they have included the Intermezzo from Cavalieri Rusticana, Dance of the Blessed Spirits and the Pearl Fisher’s Duet, so again there is plenty of choice.

The Wedding FlutistIf you’re playing by yourself, look no further than Ricky Lombardo’s The Wedding Flutist, where he conveniently divides the repertoire up into Preludes, including Elgar Salut d’Amour and MacDowell To a Wild Rose, Processionals (Pachelbel Canon, Wagner Bridal Chorus (Lohengrin) and Clarke Trumpet Voluntary), Ceremony (Bach Air from Suite in D and Gounod Ave Maria) and Recessionals where you can play them out to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy or Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Lombardo is a really good arranger and these pieces all work, given the scale of the reduction.

Sacred Duet CollectionLombardo also has another good book to offer you – Sacred Duet Collection is ideal for 2 flutes. Not everything here is suitable for the wedding but All Glory, Laud and Honour and Holy, Holy, Holy will add a suitably stately feel to your contribution. For the reception you might like to try Double Act by Marian Hellen. Subitlted ‘Popular Melodies’, there’s everthing here from Blow the Wind Southerly to Rule Britannia. This is very straightforward music, so there is plenty of scope for improvisation and repeats. You could also try them as written with a glass or two of champagne!

Single pieces that might work well at the reception if you have more than just 2 flutes would be the inevitable My Heart Will Go On in the excellent version for flute trio by Eric Hovi and Jamaica Sunrise for 4 flutes by Kate Cuzner. This will really add some sunshine on a rainy day with its lilting Caribbean rhythms and catchy melody. 8 flutes could play Jubilate Deo by Giovanni Gabrielli at the church where the antiphonal writing would be very effective.

If you are lucky enough to have a flute quartet at your disposal, Bill Holcombe is your man once you have finished playing Mozart Quartets. Music for Weddings has 2 volumes (Vol 1, Vol 2)and includes Ich Liebe Dich by Greig and Oh Perfect Love by Barnby as well as the usual mix of Bach, Handel and Mendelssohn. He has also arranged similar combinations of pieces for flute choir, wind trio and wind quintet, all of which will complement any standard music that you might have chosen.

Playing at weddings can be great fun as long as you are prepared, so sort out your music, don your wedding finery and get ready to party!

Building A Flute Library: Baroque Sonatas

One of the most bewildering parts of the Just Flutes catalogue is the Baroque section. All the titles seem to be the same, there are a great many composers who wrote a great many sonatas, and there are just so many editions to choose from! No wonder it’s confusing! This is a golden age of flute writing though and some of our most wonderful music comes from this period.

JS Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

So, everyone needs Baroque music in their library, and there is no better place to start than with JS Bach. There’s one small problem – just how many sonatas did he actually write? The authentic ones – in B minor, E minor and E major – are essential repertoire for any flute player, but the E flat major and G minor sonatas which are now attributed to his son CPE Bach should also be on your shelf. The other ‘must-haves’ from this period are 11 Sonatas Op 1 by Handel, which are wonderfully varied and approachable, not to mention difficult!

These are great works so it is important that you choose the right edition to play from. Composers from this period did not write any performance directions (dynamics, slurs or ornaments) into their music, so editors add markings of their own – and you might not necessarily like what you see on the page. Fashions change – for example the Rampal editions of the 1960s were wonderful when they were done, but now they seem too complicated and fussy. The best editions are those called “urtext” which means unedited, and the catalogue usually recommends Barenreiter. Although more expensive, everything is as authentic as possible and for core repertoire such as Bach and Handel it really does pay to spend the extra money if you can. There are no unnecessary markings in these books, so you can become your own editor which is much more fun!

Choosing what to put on your shelf from the other composers is a matter of personal taste and can be an exciting voyage of discovery. Here are some of my favourites to start you off, and I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do!

CPE Bach actually wrote many more flute sonatas than his father. The G major Sonata Wq 133 Hamburger Sonata is one of the nicest. It is unusual as it has only two movements but the charm of the Allegretto contrasts beautifully with the hectic Rondo. The short link passage is a great place to try out your ornamentation skills too.

GP Telemann

Georg Philipp Telemann

GF Telemann is another composer who is central to this period. He was prolific so there is a great deal of choice. The volume of Sonatas TWV 41 from “Der Getreue Musickmeister” published by Hortus Musicus contains 4 contrasting works, which will delight and entertain both you and your audience. The brooding F minor Sonata is the most difficult with its dark emotional undercurrent but the most famous is the bright and cheery F major Sonata, which also works very well on the piccolo.

The French composer Michel Blavet is one of my favourites from this period. He was a flute player himself and his writing shows a great sympathy for our instrument. His 6 Sonatas Op 2 (Volume 1, Volume 2) are the best-known and for good reason. Blavet had a gift for melody and his tunes are quite often breathtakingly beautiful. The faster movements have an appealing vitality and can be deceptively tricky. All 6 sonatas are good but if I had to choose one, it would be No 4 in G minor “La Lumagne”, which pairs 2 of the most lovely slow movements with three elegant dances.

Another wonderful French Sonata is Jean-Marie Leclair’s Sonata in G major Op 2 No 5. This is such a sunny work and it would certainly light up the start of any recital. It has four movements, opening with an elegant Andante, followed by a sparkling Allegro, then an almost jazzy Gavotte and ending with a vibrant Allegro assai. This is a really exciting flute-playing challenge!

John Stanley

John Stanley

More tuneful music comes from the English composer John Stanley, especially in his Six Solos for a German Flute Op 4. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Leclair, these are short and sweet, simple and uncomplicated – Stanley writes real 18th Century ‘easy-listening’! The first Solo in A minor epitomises his style, a lyrical Siciliana, a rhythmic Allegro and a major key Minuet are all quite delightful.

Representing Italy is Vivaldi with his 6 sonatas entitled “Il Pastor Fido” Op 13. These have lost popularity in recent years and it is true that they are straightforward works that lack the real vibrancy of his concertos. However, I find them all quite tuneful – they are by Vivaldi after all!

No round-up of this period would be complete without mentioning Quantz, and Rachel Brown’s recent edition of the 12 Sonatas written for Frederick the Great (Volume 1, Volume 2) is another ‘must have’. This is a great example of music really well edited. The wealth of information covered in her performance notes applies not only to these works but also to the performing of Baroque music in general so it’s a really valuable resource as well as lovely music. Every flute player should have a copy!