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Sounds Irish for Flute and Piano

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  • Highly recommended
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.

This collection consists of six Irish-inspired pieces composed by James Rae, and four traditional tunes in new arrangements by him.  Ranging in difficulty from around Grade 3-6 standard they offer a great introduction to Irish music or addition for those who are already enthusiasts.  My students particularly enjoyed the arrangement of The Rakes of Mallow, which many are familiar with initially from tutor books or Grade 1 repertoire - this version is more advanced, adding chromatic runs, a key change, and a charming countermelody when the piano takes the tune.

Of the original compositions, Beyond the Headland, marked "freely as if improvised" is easily learned by a Grade 3-4 player but makes a big impact with its beautifully expressive flute line over deep dramatic piano chords.  His Father's Son is similarly  a flowing melody over a gentle rocking accompaniment.  Rae mixes the Irish style with jazz in Kieran in the Kitchen with a jig that turns into a jazz waltz and back again, and embraces rousing dances in Harry's Empty Glass and A Drop o' the Hard Stuff.  The accompaniments are enjoyable to play and are roughly the same range of standards as the flute parts.  Some also include chord symbols so they can be simplified or played on other instruments.

Rachel Shirley

From the Publisher

Honourable Mention: NFA Newly Published Music Awards 2021

Difficulty guide: 3-6
Difficulty level, roughly compared to ABRSM exam grades. 0 is total beginner, 9 is advanced (beyond grade 8).


  • A Drop O' the Hard Stuff
  • One Cold, Grey Morning
  • Harry's Empty Glass
  • Beyond the Headland
  • Kieran in the Kitchen
  • His Father;s Son
  • The Londonderry Air (Traditional)
  • The Irish Washerwoman (Traditional)
  • St. Patrick's Day (Traditional)
  • The Rakes of Mallow (Traditional)

Item Details


  • Part 1: Flute
  • Part 2: Piano
Category: Irish Folk Flute Music
Publisher: Universal Edition
Publisher's reference: UE21750
Our Stock Code: 1457285
Media Type: Paperback (26 pages [score])

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