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The Flute Voice for Flute and Piano

A celebration of the poem by Sidney Lanier

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  • Staff Pick

Staff Pick

“An unusual and very beautiful piece. ”

Chris Hankin Just Flutes staff member - [email protected]

The back story of The Flute Voice is a Sidney Lanier poem of the same title and the words are printed throughout the flute part to forge a strong musical link. The opening line ' a velvet flute note fell down pleasantly' is enticing and the music reflects this with a beautifully crafted flute line over rich supportive harmony, a feature of the writing throughout. The overall structure takes its lead from the poem, constantly shifting both in tempo and in mood, with snippets of melody delicately altered to produce fleeting aural flashbacks, Hilary Taggart is a wonderful flute player herself and her understanding of the instrument enables her to use all the colours and flexibility of phrasing available to us. This makes it so rewarding to play. It's an altogether unusual and very beautiful piece which would be great in any concert programme.

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 £25 a year.

This piece is written in celebration of Sidney Lanier (1842–1881), who was a flute player, poet and author. He was a Professor of Literature at Johns Hopkins University, and this piece is inspired by a stanza from his poem The Symphony, written in 1875. The text is printed in the preface of the score, as well as throughout the score itself, so that performers can see the clear relationship between the text and the music.

Taggart’s music is written in an approachable, lyrical style, with some well-crafted melodic lines and consonant harmonies. In some ways, the music captures the stylistic trends that were prevalent in Lanier’s time—there is a sense of the pastorale about this work, with hints of Vaughan Williams in the fluid lines and resonances of Debussy in some of the use of parallel harmonies and whole tone patterns.

The music places appropriate demands on an intermediate level player; there are some irregular time signatures and quintuplets, and some interpretational challenges which are informed by the text. The flute part covers a range up to high A, and requires some flexibility moving between registers. The ensemble with piano is relatively straightforward, but requires a relevant awareness of the piano part. As such it’s an ideal piece for an intermediate level student (around Grade 6 or 7) to explore new repertoire. There’s plenty of scope for expression and for the development of a rich, lyrical tone and a variety of tone colours. This is an enjoyable piece and a lovely addition to the repertoire.

Carla Rees

From the Publisher

The Flute Voice uses a stanza from Sidney Lanier's large poetic work The Symphony (1875). Lanier's interest in dialects and the connection of musical notation with poetic meter is often a feature of his creative approach, and for this reason The Flute Voice by Hilary Taggart has the words of his poem printed throughout the score, so that the music echoes aspects of the rhythm, shaping, pace and mood of the poetry. This flute and piano piece also adheres to the importance of harmony; Lanier, as a devout Catholic, famously wrote: 'Music means harmony, harmony means love. Love means God.'

Performance duration (approx): 6'00

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

Item Details


  • Part 1: Flute
  • Part 2: Piano
Category: Contemporary Flute and Piano Music
Publisher: Just Flutes Edition
Publisher's reference: JFE040
Our Stock Code: 1654042
Media Type: Paperback (12 pages [score])

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