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Chinese Suite for Solo Flute

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Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society

Pan - Journal of the British Flute Society

This review first appeared in Pan, the journal of the British Flute Society and is reproduced with permission. Join the BFS: membership starts from £20 a year.

Comprising three short movements based on traditional melodies, Chinese Suite is a work of brief, evocative snapshots. Although each movement is very short, they stand alone well, but the movements are well contrasted and make for a varied set if the whole suite is performed.

The opening to Ancient Theme has a sense of gravitas in keeping with the movement’s title. The music later becomes more expansive with plenty of rubato, and longer phrases build to cascading demisemiquaver runs. After this climax, the mood shifts back to that of the solemn, quiet opening. Marked quasi improvisando, Autumn Thoughts is clearly intended to be played with a good deal of freedom, with fluid runs decorating a simple melody. A lively Vivace section gives a fleeting moment of brightness before the more melancholy ending. The final movement, Plum Blossom is brighter and more energetic, with accents and grace notes giving extra sparkle to the staccato semiquavers. Whole tone runs punctuate the staccato motif, and the music has a delicacy and lightness throughout before the final exuberant flourish.

Although barely three minutes long according to the composer’s timings, this suite is pretty with well-contrasted movements. There are a few challenges, mainly some of the longer runs, but these should be well within the capabilities of higher grade players. There is scope for lots of tonal colour and rubato in the slower moments, and these will really bring the music alive.

Laura Beardsmore

From the Publisher

Chinese Suite for solo flute [2004] has three movements based on traditional Chinese melodies. The work was given its first performance by Sharon Moloney in 2009.

Difficulty guide: 7
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is total beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).


  1. Ancient Theme
  2. Autumn Thoughts
  3. Plum Blossoms

Item Details


  • Part 1: Flute
Category: Solo Flute Repertoire
Publisher: Forton Music
Publisher's reference: FM1039
Our Stock Code: 1508949
Media Type: Paperback (4 pages [score])

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