Playlist: The Baroque flute

Gramophone Mon 26th September 2016

Nathaniel Gore explores the varying tone of the flute as the instrument evolved

The flute repertoire went through its greatest mutations in the Baroque period. From a minor instrument exclusively used in small-scale chamber music it became an integral part of the orchestra as we know it today. Its popularity began in France at the very beginning of the 18th century, with the publication of Hotteterre’s Pièces pour la flûte traversière which are often considered the solemn opening of the repertoire. Duets were a particularly popular format at the time, allowing the instruments to search for a pleasing sonority as the two parts intertwine.

As the flute spread across Europe, composers began experimenting with the possibilities of its tone and register, often adding it to the typical string orchestra as an equal part or as a soloist. Vivaldi used it for his highly descriptive La tempesta di mare and Bach called on the instrument’s uppermost register in his challenging Cantata No 8 to suggest the chiming of bells. Solo works for the flute like JS Bach’s Partita, and his son CPE’s response to it in the same key, are also a pleasure to play and listen to as they enable a real appreciation of the rich yet soft woody tone of the instrument that we rarely hear today.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017