The “Stamitz” caprices for solo flute

By Tom Moore


Unlike much of the flute repertoire of the eighteenth century, of which much has been published in the last forty years in facsimile editions, and more recently shared as pdfs of scans from original editions, the set of eight pieces attributed to Anton Stamitz and published as unaccompanied solos has become part of the core flute repertoire on the strength of two modern editions which say nothing about the sources they draw on. These are the publications by Breitkopf & Härtel titled Rondo capriccioso, G-dur and Capriccio-Sonata, A-dur, für Flöte solo, both issued in 1956, and the 8 Capricen für Flöte (Edition Peters, 8197; H. Litolff 30760 ), issued in 1974. The set of eight has received at least three complete recordings – by Laurel Zucker ( Cantilena, 66042-2, 2008), byPal Nemeth (Hungaroton HCD31924, 2000) and by Zdeněk Bruderhans, Arbitrium (1993), as well as four more recordings of the complete A major sonata, by Mirjam Nastasi (Ars Produktion, ARS38102, date?), by Magda Schwerzmann ( H.-A. Baum, H. Rosenfeld, 2003), by Hansgeorg Schmeiser, (Nimbus NI 5522, 1997) and Hans-Martin Linde, (SCGLX 73 816, 198?), the last on LP, the others all on CD.

To my knowledge, the sole eighteenth century source in which these works are grouped together and attributed to Anton Stamitz is the publication held at the National Library in Paris, France, and now digitized as part of the Library’s Gallica program ( . The catalog record for this item gives Anton Stamitz as author, but in fact the title page does not cite him. The title reads:

Caprices de flute en forme d’étude par les meilleurs maîtres français et étrangers, oeuvre [2e], and the collection is published by M. Baillon, who was active publishing in the mid-1780s, so the date given by the catalog of 1785 seems correct.

Page 1 (the verso of the title page) is the only one on which Stamitz’s name appears, thus: “Caprices de Flutes par Antoine Stamitz ordinaires de la Chapelle du Roy”. Page 4 bears the note “Caprice de Flûte en forme de Sonate”,  page 6 “Caprice de Flutte en forme de Sonnate”, page 8 “Caprice de Flutte”, and page 9 “Caprice de Flutte en forme de Sonate”. Finally pages 10-11 present a “Caprice de Flute par Mr. L***”.

It is not implausible that this collection should be credited to Anton Stamitz, who, although not a flutist himself, produced a flute concerto, flute duets and other chamber music including the flute. However, the haphazard nature of the collection (eight is an unusual number for a set of anything musical in the eighteenth century, and while the three pieces in A make a satisfying sonata, the remaining works (one in D, the rest all in G) clearly do not.

It is satisfying then, to be able to securely situate four of these with another composer, far less well-known today – Joseph Tacet. Tacet was evidently French (he played at the Concerts Spirituel in Paris in 1751), but spent most of his career in London, where he first appeared in 1755, and is documented in England until 1780[i]. Tacet, a flutist, published two collections of “Italian, French and English favorite airs and minuets with variations” arranged for two flute, violins or guitars (self-published, 1762, 1766), a tutor for the flute (Cahusac, 1766), a set of six solos for flute or violin with continuo (self-published, 1767), and a set of six divertimenti (three for two flutes, three for flute and continuo, self-published, 1769). The last two were republished in Paris by Le Sieur le Marchand in the early 1770s.

The table following shows the correspondence between the modern editions, the Baillon edition of 1785, and the Tacet sonatas for flute and continuo ( ark:/12148/btv1b9081583t).

No. 1 = No. 8, Baillon ed.      G major, Allegro moderato
= Tacet, op. 1, Sonata VI, 1

No. 2 = No. 1, Baillon ed.      D major, no tempo indication

No. 3= No. 2, Baillon ed.       G major, Rondeau, no tempo indication

No. 4= No. 5, Baillon ed.       A major, Allegro moderato
= Tacet, op. 1, Sonata IV, 1

No. 5= No. 6, Baillon ed.       A minor, Amoroso
= Tacet, op. 1, Sonata IV, 2

No. 6= No. 7, Baillon ed.       A major, Rondeau
= Tacet, op. 1, Sonata IV, 3
omits 2nde couplet found in Tacet

No. 7= No. 3, Baillon ed.       G major, Allegro Spiritoso

No. 8 = No. 4, Baillon ed.      G major, Allemande


The Baillon edition includes an entire sonata from Tacet’s op. 1 (the no. 4 in A), although without the continuo line, and omitting the second couplet from the final movement. The source of the other four movements remains open to question, though perhaps they might still be found in other contemporary collections of music for flute and continuo. It seems more likely that they would be from another flutist-composer rather than by Anton Stamitz. Tacet’s music is fluent and accomplished. It is not surprising that it has been successful under Stamitz’s name. It is time for flutists to look into the rest of Tacet’s admittedly small production.

Six solos for a German-flute or violin, with a thorough bass for the harpsichord or violoncello. London, Printed and sold by the author. [1767]

Six Sonates pour Flute ou Violon Avec la Basse Chiffrée

Dédiées A sa Majesté la Reine d’Angleterre. Composée par Joseph Tacet.

Oeuvre Ier. Gravée par Mme. Lobray. Paris, Chez le Sieur le Marchand, Cloître St. Thomas du Louvre.  [1771]

BNF, Konink. Bib, The Hague


[i] Highfill, Philip,  A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, Carbondale, Illinois: Southern Illinois University Press, p. 360. 

Published on with permission from Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

About Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz. He has recorded with Kim Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA) and with Le Triomphe de l’Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). Mr. Moore writes about music for,, 21st Century Music,  Opera Today, Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, and other journals. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro and Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York. He is presently head of the Sound and Image Department of the Green Library of Florida International University, Miami, FL. 

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Blake’s Select Beauties for the German Flute

By Tom Moore

Although the flute was among the most popular instruments in the American colonies, and in the new American nation, publications from the United States for flute were relatively few in number, and often only included collections of popular tunes, giving us a notion of the relative level of the development of the instrument in America, in comparison to the virtuoso literature developing in the early nineteenth century in western Europe, particularly in Denmark, the German lands, Austria, France and Italy (Iberia and eastern Europe were far behind in this regard).

One of the few surviving publications including more advanced repertoire for the instrument in the United States was published by George E. Blake around 1820.

Blake’s Select Beauties for the German Flute Consisting of Favorite Airs with Variations and Embellishments. To be Continued. No. ….. Price 1 Dollar. Philadelphia: Published by G.E. Blake, at his Piano Forte and Music Store, No. 13, South 5th Street.

As far as I know the unique surviving copy of this is held at the Library of Congress, which has digitized it . Although the title page notes “to be continued”, there is no evidence that any other numbers were ever issued.

Blake (1775-1871), a flutist himself, was honored with an extensive obituary in the Philadelphia Evening Telegraph, which I excerpt below:

The venerable George E. Blake, who has kept a music store on Fifth Street, a few doors above Chestnut, for so many years past, died at his residence in the same building, last evening. Mr. Blake has attained the extreme old age of ninety-five years, and has long been regarded as one of the celebrities of this city. He has been for many years the oldest music publisher in the United States, and there is but one music house in the country whose original establishment antidates his. This is the music publishing house of Lee & Walker, Philadelphia, which was founded in 1772 [i.e. 1794] by George Willig who died very old in 1851.

Mr. Blake left England, his native country, at the age of sixteen, coming to Philadelphia where he worked for a while as a carpenter and taught music, but finally in 1802 opened a music store at 3rd, & Market Streets, from which he continued his business and residence for nearly fifty-seven years. The store is about 20 x 30 feet, and immediately in the rear is the small office in which the venerable nonagenarian was accustomed to pass much of his time. When Mr. Blake first started in business, he engraved with his own hands all the plates for the music which he published and this he continued to do for many years .

Watsons’ Annals of Philadelphia says the following about Blake :

Blake & Willig were among the earliest music-publishers in Philadelphia. Mr. Blake died nearly one hundred years of age, at No. 13 South Fifth street. Mr. Blake stated that Messrs. Carr and Shetkey were publishing music previous to 1800, and that John Aitken was their predecessor for several years, at No. 3 or 5 South Third street. It will be remembered by many—a queer-looking building at the south-east corner of Third and Market streets. Many of the plain people at that time named the building “Jones’s Folly.” Mr. Blake, it seems, came over from England in the year 1793. The yellow fever was raging badly. Our city was truly desolate. He said everyone seemed “frightened out of their wits.” The year following, he began teaching the flute and clarionet over Aitken’s music-store, on South Third street. He related that one day he was called upon by a committee of Friends, threatening him, to stop teaching the clarionet to their boys, or “we will have thee put in prison.”

This last anecdote relates to the strong Quaker presence in Philadelphia, which had been founded by members of the Society of Friends, as the Quakers were more formally known. The Friends had a strong testimony against music, as being something frivolous and a waste of time. Some Quakers nevertheless cultivated music, but had to do it secretly, because of social pressure.

In addition to the musical selections, Blake also included the following introduction:


When we contemplate the numerous and multifarious Publications of this nature which have recently appeared, it would seem almost superfluous to introduce another to the notice of Amateurs; but considering at the same time the prominent disadvantages which those works exhibit, even to persons far advanced in the more abstruse beauties of the Flute, and presuming it will be in our power to obviate the same, we feel convinced another Publication, on an improved plan, is still a Desideratum amongst the Patrons of that elegant and classical instrument.

It would be idle and ridiculous to question the merits of many of the Professional Gentlemen of eminence, whose works are now before the Public, but we appeal to three fourths of the performers on the Flute, whether the labored and scientific extravagances of their compositions are not a great drawback to the beauty, taste, and elegance which their productions otherwise unencumbered would exhibit.

From this conviction we beg leave to submit the present undertaking to the Patrons of the German Flute, in full confidence of the pleasure it will excite, and as it is our intention to embrace all the most exquisite and popular compositions of the most celebrated authors, with suitable variations as may appear expedient, and also such Original new Music as it will be in our power to procure through our extensive connexions, we have no doubt of being enabled to present to the younger Students as well as the established Professors of this Instrument, a work inferior to none in point of its pleasing and facilitating properties.

The Folio size has been adopted, as capable of containing more in a page than the Quarto without crouding, — the work to be continued in occasional numbers, —- of which to form a volume, but as each number will be entirely independent of the other, Gentlemen can bind up what they please with any other Flute Music of the usual size.

The volume contains exclusively music that might have been heard in the London of the time, with three works by Charles Saust, born in Germany, and emigrating to London in about 1809 , two by William Bark, and one each by Powell and Smith. Of all of these, I have only been able to locate an additional source for the Bark variations on The Ash Grove.


Page 4:
No. 1 Scotch air [with one variation, anonymous]

Page 5.
No. 2 Paddy Carey with Embellishments – Blondeau.
No. 3. Waltz – T. Monzani.
No. 4. Danza spagnola – [anon.]
No. 5 Madame Knittel’s waltz.

Page 6
No. 6. Life let us cherish – Saust. [with three variations]

Page 7
No. 7 Ye banks and braes of Bonnie Doon – Saust [with two variations]

Page 8
No. 8 In my cottage near a wood – Powell [with six varations]

Page 9
No. 9 Mio caro adone –Mozart [with two variations, and concluding Allegretto]

Page 10
No. 10 Ash grove – Bark [with six variations]

Page 11
No. 11 Andante grazioso – Mozart [from the piano sonata in A major, K. ]

Page 12
No. 12 Tyrolian air – Smith [with six variations]

Page 13
No. 13 Oh nanny wilt thou gang with me – Saust [with one variation]
No. 14 Waltz – [anon.]

Page 14
No. 15 Air con variazione [title of tune] – Bark [with six variations]

Page 15
No. 16 Coolin – Saust [with minore and concluding maggiore]


No. 1
I have not yet been able to identify this anonymous Scotch Air.

No. 2
This is still a traditional tune among Celtic musicians, and dates back at least as far as about 1780 . It is among the tunes included in Riley’s Flute Melodies (vol. 2).

Paddy Carey’s Fortune, or Irish Promotion

Paddy Carey’s Fortune:

Twas at the town of nate Clogheen
That Sergeant Snapp met Paddy Carey ;
A claner boy was never seen,
Brisk as a bee, light as a fairy:
His brawny shoulders, four feet square,
His cheeks like thumping red potatoes;
His legs would make a chairman stare!
And Pat was lov‘d by all the ladies !
Old and young, grave or sad.
Deaf and Dumb, dull or mad,
Waddling, twaddling, limping, squinting,
Light, brisk, and airy–
All the sweet faces, at Limerick races,
From Mulinavat to Maghera felt,
At Paddy’s beautiful name would melt!
The souls would cry. and look so shy,
Och! Cushlamachree, did you never see
The jolly boy, the darling joy, the ladies toy,
Nimble-footed, black-ey’d, rosy-cheek’d,
Curly-headed. Paddy Carey!
O, sweet Paddy. beautiful Paddy!
Nate little, tight little, Paddy Carey.

His heart was made of Irish oak,
Yet soft as streams from sweet Killarney,
His tongue was tipt with a bit o’ the brogue,
But a deuce a bit at all of the blarney.
Now Sergeant Snap, so sly and keen,
– While Pat was coaxing duck-legg’d Mary,
A shilling slipt, so nate and clane,
By th’ powers! he listed Paddy Carey;
Tight and sound- strong and light-
Cheeks so round —eyes s bright,—
Whistling, humming, drinking, drumming,
Light, tight, and airy!
All the sweet faces, at Limerick, etc.

The sowls wept loud, the crowd was great,
When waddling forth came Widow Leary;
Though she was crippled in her gait,
Her brawny arms clasp‘d Paddy Carey;
‘Och, Pat !” she cry’d – ‘ go, buy the ring“,
Here’s cash galloire, my darling honey;
Says Pat, ‘you sowl! I’ll do that thing,
And clapt his thumb upon her money,
Gimlet eye—sausage nose,
Pat so sly—ogle throws.
Leering,—tittering,—jeering,-— frittering,
Sweet Widow Leary!
All the sweet faces, at Limerick, etc.

When Pat had thus his fortune made,
He press’d the lips of Mrs. Leary,
And mounting straight a large cockade,
In captain’s boots struts Paddy Carey?
He grateful prais’d her shape, her back,
To others, like a dromedary;
Her eyes, that seem‘d their strings to crack,
Were Cupid’s darts to Captain Carey,
Nate and sweet, — no alloy—-
All complete—love and joy,
Ranting, roaring, soft adoring.
Dear Widow Leary?
All the sweet faces at Lim’rick races,
From Mulinavat to Maghera felt;
At Paddy’s promotion sigh and melt.
The sowls all cry, as the groom struts by.
Och? cushlamacrees thou art lost to me!
The jolly boy ! the darling boy !
The ladies’ toy? the widows joy!
Long-sword girted, mite short skirted,
Head cropt, whiskers chopp’d,
Captain Carey?
O, sweet Paddy? beautiful Paddy!
White-feathered, boot-leathered, Paddy Carey.

No. 5

Madame Margareta Knittel was a clarinetist, certainly one of the only women performing professionally on the clarinet at this time. Originally from Zurich, she arrived in the USA in 1816. Her performance in Washington in 1818 was noted in a German-language periodical, Amerika dargestellt durch sich selbst , published in Leipzig, reporting on events in the new nation.
John Baron (Concert Life in Nineteenth Century New Orleans) gives extensive details of concerts for her benefit performed in New Orleans in 1819 .

No. 6.

The origin for this very popular traditional song is a poem by Martin Usteri (from Zürich), with music by Hans Georg Nägeli . This was already anthologized in the Neues Schweizerisches Museum in 1793 . It was included in the Vollständiges Gesangbuch für Freimaurer, which went through multiple editions between 1801 and 1819. The poetry for the English version seems to be anonymous, but was already anthologized by shortly after 1800 (it is included, for example, in The Portfolio, published in Philadelphia in 1802). The tune is also included in Riley’s Flute Melodies. There is a set of six variations included as the third item in the four books of flute works attributed to Karl Kreith that are held at the Music Library of the University of California, Berkeley. I am not aware of any other source for this work by Saust.

Aufmunterung zur Freude

Freut Euch des Lebens
Weil noch das Lämpchen glüht;
Pflücket die Rose,
Eh sie verblüht!

So mancher schafft sich Sorg und Müh,
Sucht Dornen auf und findet sie
Und läßt das Veilchen unbemerkt
Das ihm am Wege blüht.
Freut Euch… .

Wenn gleich die Schöpfung sich verhüllt
Und lauter Donner ob uns brüllt
So lacht am Abend nach dem Sturm
Die Sonne, ach, so schön.
Freut euch …

Wer Neid und Mißgunst sorgsam flieht
Und Gnügsamkeit im Gärtchen zieht
Dem schießt sie schnell zum Bäumchen auf.
Das goldne Früchte trägt.
Freut euch ….

Bey dem der Lieb und Treue übt
Und gern dem ärmern Bruder giebt
Wie siedelt die Zufriedenheit
So gern sich bey ihm au
Freut euch ….

Und wenn der Pfad sich furchtbar engt
Und Mißgeschick uns plagt und drängt
So reicht die Freundschaft schwesterlich
Dem Redlichen die Hand.
Freut euch ….

Sie trocknet ihm die Thränen ab,
Und streut ihm Blumen bis ins Grab;
Sie wandelt Nacht in Dämmerung
Und Dämmerung in Licht
Freut euch ….

Sie ist des Lebens schönstes Band.
Schlagt, Brüder, traulich Hand in Hand
So wallt man froh so wallt man leicht
Ins bessre Vaterland.
Freut euch ….

Life let us cherish while yet the taper glows,
And the fresh flower pluck ere it close;
Why are ye fond of toil and care,
Why choose the rankling thorn to wear,
And heedless by the lily stray,
Which blossoms in our way.
When clouds obscure the atmosphere,
And fork’d lightnings rend the air,
The sun resumes his silvery crest,
And smiles adorn the west.
And heedless, etc.
The genial season soon is o’er,
Then let us quit the shore,
Contentment’s cell it is life’s rest,
The sunshine of the breast.
And heedless, etc.
Away with every toil and care
And cease the rankling thorn to wear,
With manful heart the conflict meet,
Till death sounds his retreat.
And heedless &c .
No. 7

This is an original song published by Robert Burns in 1791, and also known as The Banks o’ Doon. There are three different versions of the poem. Although it was a popular tune for the flute, sets of variations or fantasies on it are few. I have found no other source for the Saust work.

No. 8

The composer is probably Thomas Powell, whose publications included arrangements of favorite Scotch airs for the piano, such as Kinloch of Kinloch, My love she’s but a lassie yet, Roy’s Wife of Alldivaloch, and We’re a’noddin, all published in London between about 1800 and 1830. Other notable versions for flute include a set of variations by Drouet, a setting for unaccompanied flute by Nicholson, and an embellished version by Dressler .

An article in the Musical Times (Sept. 1, 1895, p. 591-592, no author credited) traces the history of this tune, which began its life as a French song published in 1725 (Dedans mon petit reduit). The familiar words were published by G. Walker in 1806.

In my cottage near a wood,
Love and Rosa now are mine;
Rosa, ever fair and good,
Charm me with those smiles of thine.

Rosa, partner of my life,
Thee alone my heart shall prize;
Thou the tender friend and wife.
Ah! too swift life’s current flies.

Linger yet, ye moments stay,
Why so rapid is your wing? ,
Whither would ye haste away?
Stay and hear my Rosa sing.

Love and you still bless my cot,
Fortune’s frowns are for our good;
May we live by pride forgot,
In our cottage near a wood .

No. 9
This is an anonymous adaptation of the Variations on “Mio Caro Adone” for piano by Mozart, K. 180. Variation 1 is taken from Mozart’s Variation 3; Variation 2 is taken from Mozart’s Variation 2; and the closing Allegretto (not labeled as a variation) is taken from Mozart’s Variation 6. Mozart’s set of variations, in turn, is based on an aria from La Fiera di Venezia, a three-act comedy by Salieri premiered in Vienna in January 1772.

No. 10

The composer is William Bark. He was also a flute maker, with an eight-key flute found in the Dayton C. Miller Collection of the Library of Congress (DCM 597). This set of six variations was published (with four additional variations, for a total of ten) in London by Gerock.
Bark has very few surviving publications, and almost nothing is known about his biography, but his Selection of Airs (for flute and piano) was reviewed in the Harmonicon (1829):

A Selection of Airs from the works of Eminent Composers, arranged by Wm. Bark. No. I. (Longman and Bates, Ludgate Hill.)
This is a useful publication, for it consists of airs so good in themselves, that the great facility afforded to both performers, in the manner of arranging them, will not, however powerful prejudice may be, render them unworthy the notice of those who are equal to things requiring infinitely more practical skill. The pieces introduced are the march in the Opferfest; an aria from Le Solitaire, by Carafa; Aure felici, by the same; a Portuguese Air; the Bridesmaid’s Chorus in the Freischutz; and an air by Kummer.

The Ash Grove is an English version of an original Welsh folk song, Llwyn Onn.

No. 11
This is adapted from the opening movement of the sonata for piano, K. 331, in A, by Mozart, and uses the theme and Variation 2, transposed into B-flat.

No. 12
This is the same Tyrolian Air that is included, with variations, in the collection self-published in London by Drouet which includes a German Waltz and a French Air. There it appears in F major.

No. 13
There are also variations on this popular Scots tune by Dressler. The poem is by Dr. Thomas Percy.

O, Nannie wilt thou gang wi’ me,
Nor sigh to leave the fl aunting town?
Can silent glens have charms lor thee,
The lowly cot and russet gown?
Nae langer drest in silken sheen,
Nae langer deck’d wi’ jewels rare,
Say, canst thou quit each courtly scene,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

O Nannie, when thou’rt far away,
Wilt thou not cast a look behind?
Say, canst thou face the fl aky snaw,
Nor shrink before the winter wind?
O can that soft and gentle mien
Severest hardships learn to bear,
Nor, sad, regret each courtly scene,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

O Nannie, canst thou love so true,
Through perils keen wi’ me to gae?
Or, when thy swain mishap shall rue,
To share with him the pang of wae?
Say, should disease or pain befall,
Wilt thou assume the nurse’s care,
Nor, wishful, those gay scenes recall,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

And when at last thy love shall die,
Wilt thou receive his parting breath?
Wilt thou repress each struggling sigh,
And cheer with smiles the bed of death?
And wilt thou o’er his much-loved clay
Strew flowers, and drop the tender tear?
Nor then regret those scenes so gay,
Where thou wert fairest of the fair?

No. 16

This is a very popular Irish tune, also spelled Coolun, and known in Gaelic as An Chúilfhionn [The Fair-Haired Girl]. Other contemporary versions for flute include a set of variations for flute and piano by Charles Nicholson.
John Fanning Watson, Annals of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, in the olden time, Volume 3, p. 151.
See my article (originally published in Flute Focus):
The Apollo; Or, Vocal Repository: Containing a Selection of Songs, London, p .19
Amerika dargestellet durch sich selbsst, no. 4, June, 1818, p. 16.
John H. Baron, Concert Life in Nineteenth-Century New Orleans: A Comprehensive Reference, p. xxiii.
Allgemeiner anzeiger und nationalzeitung der Deutschen, p. 713
Neues schweitzersches Museum, p. 797-798.
See my article on Dressler’s Choix de jolies bagatelles, published in Analizar, interpretar, hacer música: de las Cantigas de Santa María a la organología: Escritos in memoriam Gerardo V. Huseby, Melanie Plesch, editor, Buenos Aires: Gourmet Musical Ediciones, 2014, pp. 503-524.
The British melodist; or, National song book, p. 225-226.

Published on with permission from Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

About Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz. He has recorded with Kim Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA) and with Le Triomphe de l’Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). Mr. Moore writes about music for,, 21st Century Music,  Opera Today, Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, and other journals. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro and Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York. He is presently head of the Sound and Image Department of the Green Library of Florida International University, Miami, FL. 

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John L. Downe, flutist and composer

Perhaps the earliest known professional flutist to have been active in the new American republic was John L. Downe. I have been able to determine his place of birth (or death), but the earliest notices of Downe (who is almost always referred to simply by his initials, J.L.) place him in Boston, Massachusetts. The first reference to Downe that I have located is the announcement for his music school, opened in collaboration with Edward “Ned” Kendall, who was known for his performances on both the Kent bugle[1] and the clarinet. Kendall’s work with band was notable enough to still be remembered almost a century later[2].


The Boston Post reports:

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC ACADEMY. E. KENDALL & J. L. DOWNE most respectfully   inform their friends and the Musical public generally, that they intend immediately opening a School for the instruction, practice and |perfection of the following instruments, viz: Clarionet, Bugle, Violin, Flute, Violincello, and most other instruments now in use. They cannot but flatter themselves with the hope that from the approbation bestowed upon their several performances, and the high testimonials heretofore received, not only that such an institution will he well patronized, but that they will be enabled to give general satisfaction. Application made, and terms known at their Academy No. 190, Washington-Street, directly opposite the Marlboro Hotel[3].


The Post also provides the earliest concert notice for Downe, from October 1832 (since it is described as his annual concert, there may well have been prior iterations).

….. OF VOCAL AND INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC, At the Masonic Temple, this evening, Oct. 20th. MR. J. L. DOWNE has the honor most respectfully to announce, that his Annual Concert will take place THIS EVENING, at the Masonic Temple, when he will be accompanied by the eminent Orchestra of the Tremont Theatre[4], under the direction of Mr. Comer[5]—on which occasion MRS ADAMS has kindly consented to appear, and also several gentlemen of acknowledged vocal talent. Mr. Hansen has likewise generously volunteered to assist. Principal Vocalist, Miss Adams. Leader and Director, Mr. T. Comer.


  1. Overture. – Auber
  2. Song—Deep deep Sea, Mrs. Adams. C. E. Hum
  3. Air, with new Variations—Flute. Mr. Downe. Bucher
  4. Solo—Bassoon. Mr. Pearce, first time in four years. Schaffer.
  5. Song and Trio; The Sicilian Boatman. Mozart.
  6. Song—Away my gallant page away. Mrs. Adams
  7. Mr. Gear will (by particular request) perform Handel’s celebrated piece of music, called, The Harmonious Blacksmith, with additional Variations for the Contra Basso and Full Orchestra, Gear.


  1. Overture; Fra Diavolo. Auber.
  2. Solo—Flute. Master Pearce, 9 years of age, pupil of Mr. Downe.
  3. Glee—Three Voices.
  4. Song—Auld Joe Nicholson’s Nannie. Mrs. Adams. T. Comer[6] .


Downe performed at the concert of the Boston Academy of Music in early May of 1835, with Kendall once again present on bugle and clarinet, as well as participating in the American premiere of soprano Miss Estcourt Wells.

The Boston Academy of Music. —The choir of this institution gave a performance on the 13th of May, in the Bowdoin-Street church. A considerable portion of Neukomm’s new oratorio, David, was performed. Mr. E. Kendall gave a concert at the Boylston-hall, on Saturday, the 18th of April. Solos were performed on the Kent bugle by Mr. E. Kendall, flute by Mr. J. L. Downe, clarionet by Mr. Kendall, violin by J. Holloway, besides songs from the principal singers mentioned in the previous concert, and instrumental pieces by the Boston military brass band. Miss Watson gave a concert of sacred music on Tuesday, April the 14th at Amory-hall. On this occasion, Mrs. Watson (late Miss Wells) made her first appearance before an American audience. The principal vocal performers were Miss Watson, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Andrews, and Mr. Comer. Instrumental solo performers—flute, Mr. Downe; clarionet, Mr. Kendall; trumpet, Mr. Armore; piano-forte, Mr. Watson. Leader, Mr. Ostinelli. The selection of music embraced several favourite pieces from Handel, Haydn, Spohr, Webbe, Comer, &c[7].

Downe made his first appearance in New York City in 1835, at a grand concert for U.C. (Ureli Corelli) Hill. Hill had been the conductor of the New York Sacred Music Society, established in 1823, and would go on to be the first conductor of the New York Philharmonic.

GRAND FAREWELL CONCERT. Mr. U.C. HILL, has the honour to inform his friends and the public, that he will give a concert on Tuesday evening, May 26th, under the kind and fostering patronage of the New York Sacred Music and Musical Fund Societies, prior to his departure for Europe. Solely, the love of his art, and of the fine arts of his country, with the advice and concurrence of his musical acquaintance, induces him to run this hazard which he has anticipated for years. He trusts that on this occasion he may have a cheerful parting. He has the pleasure to announce the following Eminent Talent, which he hopes will fully meet the approbation of his friends, and merit public patronage.

VOCAL PERFORMERS. MISS WATSON, MRS. C. HORN. Jun. MR. C. HORN, Jun. INSTRUMENTAL SOLO PERFORMERS. MISS STERLING, MR. C.E.HORN, on the Piano forte. MR. J. L. DOWNE, Flute, (his first appearance in New York.) MR. HILL, on the Violin. Conductor, Mr. C. E. Horn, who will preside at the Piano forte. Leader of the Orchestra, Mr. U.C. Hill.


  1. Overture,
  2. National Song ” The Fall of Niagara,” Mr. C. Horn, Jun. composed expressly for him. The Words by the late H. Clinch. Esq. C. E. Horn
  3. Air and Variation Violin Mr. U.C. Hill. C. De Beriot
  4. Ballad – Miss Watson “That Heavenly Voice.
  5. Robin Adair, with Variations for flute. John L. Downe.
  6. Song. Those Tinckling Bells, Mr. C. Horn, Winter Drouet A. Lee a. .
  7. 7 Overture, Rossini
  8. 8 Cavatina. Miss Watson Idole de ma vie, from Robert le Diable, Mayerbeer
  9. Grand Variations Piano Forte Miss Sterling “Ma Fanchette est Charmante.” First time in four years, H. Hertz
  10. Ballad, by desire Mr. C. Horn Nor all his pride of Kildare, Parry
  11. Duetto Mr. and Mrs. C. Horn – Loves sweetest flower, C. E. Horn
  12. Polonaise Violin Mr. Hill. P. Pechatscheck[8]
  13. Ballad (By particular desire) Miss Watson By the Margin of fair Zurich’s waters, arranged from a German melody, by Mr. Watson.
  14. Solo Octave Flute. The Nightingale J. L. Downe.

The only source I have found that verifies Downe’s first name is Stimpson’s Boston Directory, published in 1836, where he appears as John L. Downe, musician, Pleasant Street Court, on page 146. The address still exists in 2017, and is located in Charlestown, down the hill from the Bunker Hill Monument.  This allows us to locate him in the 1840 census in New York City.

Probably the most detailed descriptions of Downe’s performances are those found in the Musical Review (based in New York). A brief note from Jan. 1838 records that Downe performed “with skill” the variations by Drouet on Robin Adair at the annual concert of the Euterpeian Society[9].

May 1838 brings a lengthy review of a benefit concert for Downe.

Mr. Downe’s Concert. —First, let us express our sincere sorrow and regret, that the talents of so promising an artist, as the above-mentioned gentleman, should have met with, on Friday evening last, so paltry and pitiful reward. It is truly disheartening when we view efforts, the cost of which is years of laborious study, treated, we may say, so inhospitably, compared with the disgusting rubbish that is sometimes perpetrated within the walls of the City Hotel. The “bill of fare” prepared by Mr. Downe, was a rich and highly classical treat. It ought to have been better supported; but of this subject more anon. Mrs. Morley is a passable concert room vocalist—nothing more. Mrs. Watson cannot sing “Let the bright Seraphim:” Her John Anderson was pretty fair. Her best song, composed by Balfe, (which, by the by Malibran never sang,) was by far the best effort—it received an encore—though the composition in itself merits no favor. The words “Shall we go a sailing,” reminds us of an anecdote of poor Weber, who, on hearing Braham sing “The Bay of Biscay,” innocently inquired, at the close of the song, “What is dat Biscay Of”. Little Miss Taylor possesses a good voice for one so young, but her tutor, whoever he may be, should not thrust her into the actual torturing of such a Cavatina as Di Piacer. Morley’s voice was never in better order, or his intonation more pure than on the present occasion; he is evidently improving. Spohr’s magnificent Duet, from Faust, Callcott’s Tempest, and Dr. Arne’s “Now Phoebus setteth inthe west,” from Comus, were all admirably given. Of the last Duet, Con pazzienza, it is scarcely fair to speak, in consequence of Mrs. Morley having been encored in Rory O’More, the piece preceding: that lady seemed too much exhausted to do it justice. Mr. Munson’s song could easily have been dispensed with. How the instrumental performers managed to get through their portion of the night’s entertainment, we are at a loss to guess—the Piano being more than a quarter tone above pitch. Downe played beautifully, so did Christian; but both were evidently much distressed, owing to the above circumstance. The Grand Duet—concertante—Piano-forte and Violin, by Messrs. King and Hughes, composed by Herz and Lafont, was received with the greatest enthusiasm by the audience, more particularly the enchanting violin of Mr. Hughes. This Duet was one of the most agreeable pieces of the evening. Mr. Kendall, on the Harp—it would have been more edifying, had the Harp been on Mr. Kendall. King requires a little softening down; but he is a good player for all that. Mr. Mason’s Trumpet Obligato was too loud—for which, perhaps, we ought to blame the Piano. We can only once more express our chagrin, at the bad taste of the public, in not crowding the room, and conclude by wishing Mr. Downe at his next Concert, all the success he so richly deserves.

This concert was evidently a financial failure, for there is considerable discussion of the matter later in this journal, and Downe’s concert is included in a list of events that were losses for the producers[10].

The writer of a letter to the Musical Review describes a performance including Downe (date and place unclear):

….I now come to the solo of Mr. Downe, on the Flute, the Air “Le Petit Tambour,” with brilliant variations, which was played in a most masterly manner. This gentleman, with wonderful execution, combines a sweetness and expression which has never been equalled in this country. ….. Mr. Downe introduced a novelty in the Art of Flute Playing, being a Solo on the embouchure or top joint of his Flute, a performance never before attempted by anyone but himself; it was wonderful and at the same time very pleasing. The Waltz was composed by himself for this occasion.

The waltz described must certainly be among the waltzes by Downe for solo flute which were published by Firth and Hall in 1841, and are now in the collection of the Library of Congress.

Finally, the January 5 number of the Review describes the benefit for pianist William Scharfenberg (1819-1895), who had not yet turned twenty at the time, and was making his American debut.


This concert, which took place at the “Apollo Saloon,” was highly creditable to the enterprise and taste of the young artiste who gave it. The corps consisted of Rappetti, Downe, Boucher, Scharfenberg, solo performers—Miss Alldridge, vocalist—and a select band. Such a combination of talent engaged in one concert, is, in this country, a rare thing. We were only in time to hear the last four pieces, – a solo on the flute by Mr. Downe, a song by Miss Alldridge, a violin solo by Signor Rappetti, and the finale on the piano-forte by Mr. Scharfenberg. Mr. Downe did not play well as we have before heard him. He is an exquisite performer—the best, we believe, in the country. He gave us on this occasion something quite new—a variation in harmonics; sounds that, for acuteness of pitch, would vie with those produced by Paganini on the 15th leger line. Mr. Downe can play the flute in its legitimate style, with great purity of tone, expression, and execution; he can also, if circumstances require it, equal any one in novelties to excite the astonishment of those whom genuine music fails to please. We perceive that he is to play at Mr. King’s concert with only the upper joint of his flute. We have been both astonished and pleased with a performance of this sort by him, yet we are more pleased when his instrument is complete.

Downe had evidently moved to New York at some point during the 1830s, since he is included among those enumerated in the 1840 census in New York (he is listed as being between thirty and forty years of age, as is his wife, and has no fewer than five children – four daughters, and one son)[11].

By the 1840s, Downe had published his set of waltzes (registered at the New York copyright office Downe is notable enough to undertake a voyage to England, where he played in a benefit for Madame Gradini on Dec. 17, 1844. The former Miss Margaretta Graddon had appeared in works by Weber in London in the 1820s.

Princess’s Concert Room. —A concert occurred here on Tuesday evening, the interest of which was the first public appearance of Mad. Gradini (late Miss Graddon) since her return from America, where she has resided eight years. As Miss Graddon, the lady enjoyed a high and deserved celebrity in England, and she appears to have met with universal success in the various parts of America which she has visited. Her voice has not in any way lost its volume or its beauty, and her style of singing is as energetic and graceful as of yore. Mad. Gradini indulged her audience with two Italian cavatinas, a ballad by John Barnett, and a Tyrolienne in which she accompanied herself on the guitar. In all of these her reception was most warm and gratifying, and must have pleased the fair vocalist, who, no doubt, will resume her ancient popularity with little diminution. There were many other attractions worth notice, but we have only space to mention a fantasia on the Nicholson flute, played with admirable neatness and great taste by Mr. Downe (also from America)—a charmingly graceful duet by H. Brinley Richards, delightfully sung by the Misses Williams—some excellent singing by Machin, two concertina fantasias well executed by young Blagrove —unmistakable encores for drolleries no less unmistakable by John Parry, and last, not least, a fantasia on the pianoforte by Mr. J. Cohan, which produced a great effect and was loud and generally applauded[12].

Downe is back in London once more by 1847, when he gave a concert under his own name at Blagrove’s Rooms. He is now identified at the first flute of the Italian Opera in New Orleans.

On the same evening, Mr. J. L. Downe, first flautist of the Italian Opera at New Orleans, gave a concert at Blagrove’s Rooms, in Mortimer-street, with Mrs. A. Gibbs, Mrs. J. Roe, Messrs. Allen and Collins, Mr. Weeks, and Signor Furtado, for singers. The instrumental soloists were Signor Casolani (contrabasso), Messrs. Hancock, W. F. Reed, and Guest (violoncelli), Mr. Dean (clarinet), Mr. Nicholson (oboe), and Mr. Downe (flute). Mr. C. Blagrove was the accompanist.

Surviving works:

A Set of Waltzes for the Flute Dedicated to the Amateurs of New York by J.L. Downe. New York: Firth and Hall.

Library of Congress.


Copyright deposit, dated Feb. 19, 1841.

Ten individual works for unaccompanied flute. No. 6 is a Gallop.

Love’s Ritornella.

No place of publication or publisher. Theme with two variations, for unaccompanied flute.  Held in a bound collection at Oberlin.



[1] A keyed bugle patented by Joseph Halliday in 1811.

[2] Chamber of Commerce Journal of Maine, Volume 22, p. 191 (1909):

In 1829, the Rifle Corps, then under the command of Captain Solomon H. Mudge, having procured a new and handsome uniform, and wanting extra music for their anniversary, sent to Boston and engaged four pieces, a part of Kendall’s Band. Ned Kendall, the famous bugler came himself, accompanied by a trombone, French horn and cornet and these with Poland, Johnson and Foye, gave the music for the occasion. No such stirring martial music had ever before been heard on the streets of Portland.

A year later, 1830, the New England Guards, the Crack Rifle Company of Boston, under the command of Jouathon G. Chapman, afterwards Mayor of that city, came here on a visit to the Rifle Corps, bringing with them the celebrated Brigade band of eighteen pieces, Edward Kendall, leader. This was a great occasion and excited much interest in regard to martial music and lead to the organization in 1832 of the Portland band.

[3] Boston Post, December 13, 1831 (the same announcement also published on Nov. 28, and on Dec. 27, 1831)

[4] The Tremont Theater had been built in 1827 at 88 Tremont Theater. It was purchased by Baptists in 1843, and became the Tremont Temple. After many fires, the original structure was replaced by the building that still stands at the stie.

[5] Tom Comer, 1790-1862. Born in England, he arrived in Boston in 1827.

[6] Boston Post, October 20, 1832

[7] The Musical Library, no. 21, December 1835, p. 23,

[8] The opus 18 by František Martin Pecháček, 1793-1840.

[9] The Musical Review, vol. 1-2, 1838-1839, p. 8,

[10] ibid, p. 293.


[12] The Musical World, vol. 19, 1844, p. 415


Published on with permission from Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

About Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz. He has recorded with Kim Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA) and with Le Triomphe de l’Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). Mr. Moore writes about music for,, 21st Century Music,  Opera Today, Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, and other journals. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro and Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York. He is presently head of the Sound and Image Department of the Green Library of Florida International University, Miami, FL. 


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Auguste Vern – Flutist and Composer

By Tom Moore

We are lucky to have an extensive obituary for the flutist and composer Auguste Vern, who is well-represented in the printed editions from this lifetime, but, since he was from the provinces, and after his education in Paris, returned to work in the provinces, appeared relatively little in the Parisian press, and to my knowledge, does not appear in any of the musical encyclopedias of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

My translation of the obituary follows.

Obituary[i] of
Auguste Vern,
Composer of Music,
By Vergnaud-Romagnesi,
Member of the Society of Antiquaries of France, and of various Literary, Scientific, Agricultural and Philharmonic Societies in France and Abroad.

The dean of composers of instrumental music in France, and the dean of teachers of music in Orléans, M. Claude-Josephe-Auguste VERN, passed away in his 85th year, on May 18, 1854, in Orléans.

Born at Thoissay, near Macon, in 1669 [sic], he was taken at a young age to Lyon, where his parents had properties. Intended by his parents for a military career (artillery), his studies were directed to that end, and soon the siege of Lyon (1793) came to put his courage (which never failed) to the test, no more so than his principles, devoted to a wise freedom free from all excess. In the number of the vanquished after the fall of Lyon, and destined to be shot, he happily escaped the horrible massacre by throwing himself to the ground at the moment the command of “Fire!” was given, but he was wounded in the head by the grapeshot, which did not prevent him from dragging himself through the dead and dying, making his way to the Rhone, which he swam across, and making his way to Italy.

           He then took service in the same regiment with the young Bonaparte. He later was attaché to the unfortunate Maréchal Brune, for whom his brother was secretary.

           Frank and loyal in character, but a little brusque, and having become taciturn after the events marking his painful life, tormented first by the peril that he had gone through with the burning of his properties in Lyon, and then by considerable disappointments, he nonetheless maintained an inviolable attachment to this friends, an inexhaustible sympathy for his peers, and a rare disinterestedness taken to the extreme.

           But the least injustice, the least departure from good behavior exasperated him. It is thus that, seeing himself in the army as the victim of a free ride, he brusquely broke off his military career in order to devote himself entirely to the study of music, which he had, until then, although with success, only pursued in his moments of leisure.

           On returning to France and after having been applauded as flutist and oboist at the theatre of La Scala, Milan, and at that of Lyon, he came to Paris with well-founded hopes for his success, in the capital, in obtaining a place as professor at the Conservatory. It happened otherwise.

           Discouraged by this unjust lack of success, he was called on by some amateurs in Orléans to come and be heard there. Soon students were asking for him, and facilities given for publicizing his compositions by a distinguished composer-publisher musician, Sébastien Démar. The success of his first works surpassed his expectations, and he decided to settle in Orléans, seeking a little business for his estimable spouse, while he occupied the place of flute and oboe in the Orléans orchestra, then very complete. The loss of his wife came to sadden his life, and paralyze a business that an artist was scarcely appropriate to carry on.

Eighteen collections for flute and for oboe published in succession, and numerous students had brought him an honest ease that his great heart made him compromise many times.

Until the age of eighty-two he continued to hold the position of flute and oboe at the orchestra of the theater with distinction. But finally his strength could not match his persevering courage, and he had nothing more than the highly estimable recognition of people he had once obliged, and the affection of his students who competed with each other, up until his last moment, in disguising, in various ways, the aid due to his great age, and to the general feeling of estimation and affection that everyone felt for him.

His students cherished him in spite of the strictness of his teaching, the result of his zeal in teaching his art well. The musicians who were his contemporaries gave resounding praise to his talent and the progress he had brought to the flute, in marching with a new and more assured pace in the path opened by those like Devienne and Hugot.

His compositions are in general severe, with an elevated taste, and the melodies that one often finds there are full of grace and sweetness. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and lastly Reicha, were his favorite authors. Scarcely had Reicha published his immortal quintets for winds [Paris, 1817-1820], but Vern dared to propose and perform them in the provinces. The flute was given to M. Marcueyz, his student, he himself played the oboe, M. Louis played the clarinet, an excellent teacher and hornist, M. Vaillant, played that part, the bassoon was played with more zeal than talent by the author of this notice, and we owed to the musical intelligence of M. Vern an execution satisfying even for the performers of Paris, of these difficult works. There were frequent musical reunions at the house of M. Vern, and they contributed to training the numerous amateurs who still remember those fine days for instrumental music for winds in Orléans.

Toward the end of his career, M. Vern had composed some remarkable duos or songs for two English horns (voce humana[ii]). These melodies have remained unpublished along with other manuscripts that he himself destroyed with hunting fanfares for two horns.

But he left unpublished a set of oboe duos that he esteemed considerably.

The works of M. Vern are:

  1. Three duos for oboes, dedicated to M. Rime-Beaulieu.
  2. Three duos for oboes, dedicated to M. Montbarron.
  3. An opera burned in Lyon.
  4. Three quartets burned in Lyon.
  5. Six duos for flute, dedicated to Maréchal Brune.
  6. Six duos for flute, dedicated to M. de Moypia, jr.
  7. Six duos for flute, dedicated to the same.
  8. Three duos dedicated to his brother.  (This set, to which a publisher added three oboe duos arranged for flute, was arranged by M. Vern himself for two oboes and dedicated to M. Demadières-Miron[iii].
  9. Three duos for flute, dedicated to Tulou.
  10. Three duos for flute, dedicated to Vanderlick[iv].
  11. A nocturne for harp and flute, dedicated to Mlle. Démar.
  12. A theme varié for flute, dedicated to M. C. Cayot and S. Maiffredy, of Marseille.
  13. A theme varié, dedicated to M. Warbuton.
  14. Four duos for flute, dedicated to M. Marcueyz.
  15. Twelve unpublished melodies for English horn, dedicated to M. J. Ruzé.
  16. Twelve unpublished melodies for English horn, dedicated to M. Vergnaud-Romagnési.
  17. A romance, Le Preux, words by M. Vergnaud-Romagnési.
  18. A unpublished set of duos for oboes.

Numbers in this list evidently correspond to opus numbers for Vern’s published works, opp. 1-14.  Op. 3-4, given as burned in Lyon, do not survive. Nos. 15, 16, and 18 were evidently never published. No. 17 may have been published, but does not survive.


Surviving works by Vern:

Aarhus: Aarhus University Library
BNF: National Library, Paris
BL: British Library, London

3 Duos concertants pour deux hautbois, op. 1. Paris, Imbault.
=no. 1 in above list?


3 Duos concertants pour deux hautbois, op. 2. Paris, B. Pollet.
=no. 2 in above list?

Trois duos concertans pour deux hautbois composés et dédiés à son ami Charles Louis de Montbarbon… par Auguste Vern opéra 2.d. Paris, Benoît Pollet.
Mediathèques de Montpellier

3 Duos concertants pour deux clarinettes, extrait de l’oeuvre 2e des duos de hautbois, arrangés par Charles Bochsa Père. Orléans, Demar.

Six duos concertans pour deux flûtes … Œuv. 5. [Parts.]. Orléans, Chez Demar.

Duo concertant No. I-II: Op 5,1-2. Augsbourg, Gompart et Comp.
= no. 5 in above list?


6 Duos concertants pour deux flûtes, op. 6. Paris, B. Pollet.
=no. 6 in above list?

Six duos concertans pour deux flûtes, divisés en deux parties, op. VI. Paris, Melle. Demar.
University of Michigan

Six Duos concertans pour deux Flûtes. Paris.

Duo concertant pour deux flutes oeuvre 6 no. II / composés par Auguste Vern. Augsbourg : Gombert, [ca. 1810] Pl. no.: 517 –

-republished Cornetto-Verlag, c2001


6 Duos concertants pour deux flutes, op. 7. Paris, Imbault.
=no. 7 in above list?

Six duos concertants pour deux flûtes … opéra 7, [1re.-2e.] partie. A Paris, Chez Imbault.
University of Michigan

Six Duos concertants pour deux Flûtes. Op. 7. Paris.
University of Michigan

Three duetts for two flutes, op. 7, bk. 1. London, Monzani & Hill.
University of Iowa, BL

3 Duos concertants pour deux flûtes op. 8. Paris, Imbault.
=no. 8 in above list?

Trois duos concertans pour deux flûtes … oeuvre 8. A Paris, Chez Imbault.
University of Michigan, Royal Library, The Hague

Trois duo concertans pour deux flûtes, oeuvre 8, 2e. partie. Paris, Janet et Cotelle.
Central Library, Zürich


3 Duos (grands) concertants pour deux flûtes, op. 9. Paris, Janet et Cotelle.
BNF, Central Library, Zürich
=no. 9 in above list?

Trois grands duos concertans: Op 9. (S.l.)

Trois grands duos concertans pour deux flûtes oeuvre 9. Mayence, Schott.
University Library Carl von Ossietzky, Royal Library, The Hague

3 Duos (grands) concertants pour deux flûtes, op. 10. Paris, Janet et Cotelle.
=no. 10 in above list?

Trois grands duos concertans: Op 10. Bonn, Berlin, Hamburg, London, N. Simrock.
Arhus, Royal Library, The Hague, SLUB Dresden
=no. 10 in above list?


Thème varié pour flûte principale avec acc. de 2 violons alto, basse, 2 cors et hautbois, ou piano à défaut d’orchestre. Op. 12. Paris, Gannal.
BNF, Oberlin College
=no. 12 in above list?

Thème varié pour la flûte avec accompagnement de basse où de forte-piano, op. 13
Oberlin College

4 grands duos concertans pour deux flutes. Oeuv. 14. Paris, A. Cotelle.
University of Michigan

3 Duos concertans (sic ?) pour deux clarinettes. Paris, Imbault.


3 Sonates concertantes pour 2 hautbois composés… par Auguste Vern. Paris, Imbault.


6 Duos concertants pour deux flûtes, divisés en deux parties. Paris, Benoist Pollet.

Six grand duos concertans pour deux flûtes, etc. Liv. 2. Berlin.

3 Duos concertans pour deux flûtes. Paris, Imbault.

Trois grands duos concertans pour deux flûtes. Paris, Janet et Cotelle.
University of Michigan

Nocturne en harmonie… par Auguste Vern. Paris, Melle T. Demar.
= No. 11 from the list in the Obituary?

Nocturne en harmonie: for flute, 2 clarinets, 2 horns and 2 bassoons : with optional 2 oboes or clarinets, contra-bassoon, trumpet and trombone. Lancaster, Phylloscopus Publications.

Variations concertantes sur la cavatine (di tanti palpite) de Rossini, arrangées pour harpe et flûte. Paris, Demar.


[ii] The vox humana is described in some detail in Geoffrey Burgess, The Oboe, Yale University Press, 2004, p. 99. It was a “straight tenor in F in two parts (the centre joint and bell were unseparated”.

[iii] Demadières-Miron was the director of the Musée d’Orléans, and chevalier de la Légion-d’ Honneur. Died Feb. 4, 1852.

[iv] i.e., Johann Georg Wunderlich, 1775-1819, professor of flute at the Conservatory in Paris.

Published on with permission from Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

About Prof. Dr. Tom Moore

Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. From 2004 to 2007, he was visiting professor of music at the University of Rio de Janeiro (UniRio), where he co-directed the early music ensemble, Camerata Quantz. He has recorded with Kim Reighley and Mélomanie for Lyrichord (USA) and with Le Triomphe de l’Amour for Lyrichord and A Casa Discos (Brazil). Mr. Moore writes about music for,, 21st Century Music,  Opera Today, Flute Talk, Flutist Quarterly, and other journals. He has also sung professionally with the Symphonic Chorus of Rio de Janeiro and Concert Royal and Pomerium Musices of New York. He is presently head of the Sound and Image Department of the Green Library of Florida International University, Miami, FL. 

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Sally Walker – An Interview

Elena Kats-Chernin’s new flute concerto Night and Now is the result of a long friendship and collaboration with flautist Sally Walker. Sally will be premiering the concerto on Saturday 24 October with the Darwin Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Matthew Wood.

Angus McPherson spoke to Sally Walker. (Excerpts from Elena Kats-Chernin’s program note for Night and Now are in italics.)


When did you know Elena was writing you a concerto?

The idea of writing me a concerto stemmed naturally from our many other collaborations; it had been talked about for some years but crystallised once Elena was awarded the Australia Council Fellowship in late 2014, which also meant a confirmation of a timeline of events. She then began writing furiously and by January played me her idea for the first movement (on piano, from which she composes).

Photo: Steven Goodbee Publicity.

Sally & elena

How did the collaboration between you and Elena work?

Our collaboration process is very easy. It always begins with a lot of talking and a lot of laughing in a session at her place around the piano – trying things out. As we are both very itinerant, we are emailing mostly thereafter, with occasional phone calls. If we are in the same city at the same time, of course we try to meet, but the contact is very constant in the written form. Sometimes I will send her a sound file (like yesterday, so she could hear the recording of the first tutti rehearsal).

Sally often hears sketches of my work as I’m writing them and she has great insight into my processes. When Sally and I began to think about what a major work for flute and orchestra would sound like, we discussed all of these qualities and how to showcase the flute as a solo instrument and emphasise its unique sound and capabilities. Sally’s sound is full bodied. It isn’t a little flute which flies away – it has earth. That is Sally…how she is, very earthy and elf‐like at the same time. That’s what flute is, the way Sally plays it.

We began with talking about what the piece should be. I said that I would like a work of depth and seriousness, which has beautiful melodies and embodies her knowledge of unusual harmonies. I especially wanted some darkness (so many flute concertos have the ‘brilliante’ aspect of the flute, but I think our low register is very stirring). In 2006, Elena wrote her flute and piano version of Blue Silence for me and it became my favourite of all her works. She needed some persuading that the slowness of the music was convincing; she is more comfortable writing very busy music. When it was broadcast by the ABC on a show called For Matthew and Others, she received enormous praise for this contemplative work. I had wanted that work to be a starting point for the concerto. Consequently, the concerto starts on a low E, in a minor key and very slowly. “Night”.

The timbre and sonorities of the flute itself offer much variation to the composer. It can be brilliant, shrill and scurrying, or whispering and mellow. The flute can draw sharp or soft lines. It can be rich, or mystical, or virtuosic, penetrate a full sound or sigh into the texture.

I wanted her somehow to document her childhood in Russia, with all its extremes, its suffering and its wonder.

It is a Concerto in three movements and takes aspects of the Russian personality and character as its starting point, as well as aspects of the flute itself. It draws very much on my own experiences as a child of that world, both aurally and from day to day life. Until I was 17, that was everything that I knew. One of my overriding memories of childhood in Russia is of lining up for hours and hours for one loaf of bread or piece of cheese, and the perseverance and sometimes ultimate disappointment that had to be faced when food just ran out.


Being familiar with Elena and her music, did you have any preconceptions about the piece? Were there any surprises?

I was delighted to hear a reference to J.S. Bach in the fugue-ish second movement. I half-jokingly suggested a ‘Latigo’ (an Argentine Tango technique) in the second movement and then I saw she put it in the score! – both for violin (which is typical) and then for piccolo (not typical, but effective).


What has been the most challenging thing about preparing Night and Now?

That I premiere this in three days and we are still making changes. I love to play from memory, but I think that may be a little too risky!


How would you describe the overall sound of the work?

Colourful, from the foreboding to the sublime. It is a transformation, really, from the darkest of darks to exuberant triumph (with abundant percussion). A Lament, a Fugue and a Tarantella.

Sally also suggested to me that I might use stories from my early years in Russia, or from my own life as a template to the overall design of the composition. And so I did. The first movement is based on two imagined Russian fairy tales; one taking place deep in the woods – always a place of foreboding and unease (for this writer), but also promise and adventure and transformation. The other is in a silvery castle, impressively elaborate and bejewelled. Two very different “nights”.


What is your favourite moment in the music?

The first, certainly. For its intensity and colour. Low register flute, low strings and Tubular bells is an eerie, other-worldly sound.


Are there different challenges when preparing and performing a work written for you by a friend?

Somehow it feels like a higher responsibility, even though I have been integrally involved in the whole writing process. You want everybody to be happy with the final result. Luckily I love the piece – imagine where would it leave a friendship if someone writes you a concerto and you don’t like it!


How do you see this work fitting into the wider canon of flute concertos?

It is perhaps more focussed upon melody than virtuosity (although there are a couple of awkward acrobatic moments). We had specifically wanted a piece that many people could enjoy playing, so its level of technical difficulty is not as high as other concertos. Also, we discussed the idea of making the concerto for multiple flutes, but I thought that would limit how many people would play it and so it is for C flute only.

Although it is an ‘Australian Flute Concerto’, it is very much bound with Elena’s cultural background as a Russian Jew, so there are elements of Russian music certainly, hints of Klezmer and, of course, Bach.


Are there any plans for further tours?

It will be performed with the Zelman Symphony, conducted by Mark Shiell, in Melbourne on December fifth, with the Newcastle Youth Orchestra in September next year and the Queensland Youth Symphony the year after. Some overseas orchestras have approached us too; it would be really special to take this work to different countries.


UPDATE Monday 2 November 2015

ALL of the team at FTA extend our most heartfelt congratulations to both Elena and Sally and of course the Darwin Symphony Orchestra on an incredibly successful world premier of “Night and Now” which received a standing ovation!

Please find below some stunning photos of the World Premier courtesy of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra

image4 image3 image2 image1

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Doubling for Woodwind Players

By Jacqueline Pace

As a high school student taking lessons on 3 woodwind instruments, I heard all sorts of theories about how reed instruments would ruin my flute embouchure. I was also told never to touch brass instruments, because this would be even worse for my flute playing.

I was advised to practise flute, then clarinet, then saxophone in that order. This has always seemed to work for me. I have played flute directly after clarinet or saxophone occasionally, usually when playing a reed part for a musical. The most noticeable change to my flute playing was when I played flute directly after playing saxophone. My tone was horrible. I checked the mirror – my embouchure was the same, but I had lost all feeling in my bottom lip due to the vibrating reed. After a break to let my lip rest, my flute playing returned to normal.

I later took up oboe for a group music subject at university. Again, it was tired lips due to vibrating reeds which affected my flute playing immediately after playing oboe. There were no long-term disadvantages.

In terms of career opportunities, spending years studying extra instruments has made me a much more versatile teacher. Many schools now want a general woodwind teacher, rather than a specialist on each instrument. This is not an ideal situation – I have had many conversations with panicking woodwind teachers when a school wants them to teach an instrument they have never played and have seen many students develop poor technique due to poor teaching (the most common one I see is incorrect chromatic fingerings on clarinet). I am confident in the way I teach other woodwinds due to my hard work when I was a teenager.

Comments on this topic are welcome.

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Dr Christine Potter – An Interview

– Email Interview with Peter Sheridan –



Many years ago I decided to work on the JS Bach Allemande from the Solo Sonata on alto because it would be harder than on c flute. Since my school had only a straight tube alto and I have short arms, I never thought of pursuing the alto until I went to my first NFA convention and saw there were curved head altos. I feel in love with the sound. Once I was able to buy one, I then had to find out what I could play on my new alto. There was no available compilation of repertoire, so I spent hours in the back room of a music store making a list of pieces from publishers catalogues.



I wanted more fun pieces to play and conduct!



My first book was a scale book that can be played as a duet, trio or quartet. I wrote this when I scheduled myself to perform a duet with Carol Wincenc at a Festival I was organizing. I needed to find time to practice and scales were something I played with my students, so I turned scales into duets. That book was hugely successful at the NFA convention, and from there, I wrote books that filled other needs. I wanted to play Halloween Duets with my students at a Halloween studio recital, and nothing existed, so I arranged some. There needed to be a book teaching people about vibrato, so I spent three years writing one. It has definitely been a labor of love, I figure I have earned about .05 an hour with all the time I spend.


My need to make lists of







I attribute to a personality disorder!




The NFA Board approached me with the idea, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it first. I made it my mission to spread the word about low flutes, to enrich the available repertoire and show that low flutes were not just for simple repetitive parts in a flute choir, but were capable of being expressive solo instruments. Many more events for low flutes are now programmed at conventions, and the music written for these events is blossoming, spreading out into the world and popping up in many wonderful places.



My father died several years ago and it made me think about what I wanted to accomplish while I still could. The first Retreat in 2004 was actually in a masterclass format that did not work very well since most of the people who came were not solo performers. Now I focus on chamber music that makes everyone happy, and I include two workshops that change topics from year to year. This year I have two Retreats, one in Colorado and one in Asheville, NC.



Matthias Ziegler is terrific! Then there is this guy in Australia . . . . . .




Katherine Hoover’s Two for Two, Daniel Rhone’s Bethlehem Pastorale, Matthias Ziegler’s Low Flutes at High Tides, Mike Mower’s Obstinato and Scareso.




I would like to see alto flute taught at the college level equal to the piccolo and included in undergraduate and graduate recitals. I would like to see an international competition for alto flute and bass flute soloist. We have the repertoire to make this a reality, but would need to find some funding sources for the prizes, plus a suitable venue. I hope it will become commonplace for world renowned artists to include alto or bass pieces in their programs.


How does being Flute Choir Coordinator and Low Flutes Choir Conductor at the Galway Festival fit into your dream of world domination?


When I was asked to perform Matthias Ziegler’s Low Flutes at High Tides at the Galway Festival in 2013, I was thrilled. I was given top students to work with and the Galway’s were so pleased, they created a job for me and asked me to return the following summer. I will be returning again this summer with permission to program even more low flutes pieces. By including these works in their Festival, the Galway’s are recognizing the value and quality of the repertoire that is being created for low flutes and sending that message to the rest of the flute world.








About Dr Christine Potter

Dr. Christine Potter has performed in London, Paris, Mexico City, Toronto, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Washington D.C., Phoenix, Dallas, Boston, and Atlanta. She is an internationally recognized alto and bass flute virtuoso and has performed at many conventions of the National Flute Association (NFA) as well as British Flute Society conventions (BFS). Chris spent five years as Chair of the National Flute Association’s Low Flutes Committee and developed the low flutes portion of the annual NFA conventions with numerous performances, world premiers and workshops. She directs a low flutes choir at the James Galway Festival in Weggis, Switzerland, where she is also the flute choir coordinator.

Her CD, Flute Menagerie, features solo works for alto and bass. Chris has commissioned and premiered many works for alto and bass, including Low Flutes at High Tides for low flutes choir and Voices for solo bass by Matthias Ziegler, Voices From the Deep and The Alchemy of Earth by Alexandra Molnar-Sujahda, Deep Space Heat Wave by Jonathan Cohen, Stone Suite by Sonny Burnette, Baikal Journey by Catherine McMichael, Obstinato and Scareso by Mike Mower, Two for Two by Katherine Hoover, and Ani Ma’Amin by Paul Schoenfeld.

Chris has appeared on the cover of Flute Talk magazine in with the 10-foot high sculpture of a bass flute in her front yard. She is a frequent contributor to Flute Talk as well as The Flute View and The Quarterly, the magazine of the National Flute Association.

Chris has been organizing and teaching Alto and Bass Flute Retreats since 2004. In 2015 there will be two Retreats, one in Asheville North Carolina, one in Boulder, Colorado. Both will be in June. Chamber music is the focus of each Retreat. Go to the “Retreat/Events” tab for information on the Retreats.

She has written and arranged fifteen books. Her latest contribution is Tres Ratoncitos Ciegos (Three Blind Mice) for flute choir premiered at the 2014 convention. Her books Halloween Duets and The Alto and Bass Flute Resource Book were both winners in the National Flute Association’s Newly Published Music Competition. Her best selling book is The Vibrato Workbook published by Falls House Press. All her books are available on this website.

Chris is known for her clever and innovative performances. She has organized concerts in planetariums, recorded a soundtrack in sea caves from a kayak for an improvised bass flute solo titled SplishSplash!, includes a movie in her performance of Lunar Mural 1, and organizes audience participation, including sing-a-longs.


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Alice Bennett – An Interview


Melbourne-based flutist and sound artist Alice Bennett possesses a keen interest in contemporary Australian music and the low flutes, and has most recently developed a penchant for exploratory improvisation. After completing a Bachelor of Music with Honours at Monash University, Alice travelled to Austria for the Impuls 8th International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music 2013 where she studied contemporary flute techniques with Eva Furrer, and improvisation with Manon-Liu Winter and Frank Gratkowski.

Alice has had the privilege of premiering works by Houston Dunleavy, Peter Senchuk, Vaughan McAlley, Mitchell Mollison, and Katia Tiutiunnik, and has received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. She is an active committee member of the Victorian Flute Guild, and performs with contemporary ensemble Faux Foe. Alice currently spends most of her time working on her Project 365, a challenge to complete and publicly release 365 original works during one year, and also enjoys cooking, drinking nice wine and hanging out with her pet rabbits.

Alice is a co-founder of Tilde New Music and Sound Art – a multi-platform project which aims to promote Australian art music, including but not limited to: improvisation, sound art, and works by people who aren’t dead yet. The first stage of this project was a mini festival held on Sunday 26th January at Testing Grounds, Melbourne. The festival featured performances of some of Melbourne’s most innovative sound artists and performers, and hosted the launch of the Tilde Roving Sound Art Gallery.



One morning in my first year of university I stumbled out of my dorm room having enjoyed way too much vino the night before, and seedily made my way to the weekly flute workshop. I waited with my classmates for a guest lecturer to appear. We had no idea who this person was or what they did. Little did I know that they were one of only a handful of low flutes specialists in the world, nor how lucky we all were to get our hands on a contrabass flute. One note and I was hooked.



Throughout 2014 I took part in the WeeklyBeats Challenge (, where participants compose/record one piece of music per week for the duration of a year. I found the process so useful and inspiring that I attempted to do the same every day. Having a constant deadline and outcome (publicly releasing each track) gave me the motivation to experiment and work on my skills every day, and that includes improvising, using Ableton Live and other software, recording techniques and website management as well as playing. WeeklyBeats also gives you access to a community of peers who give weekly feedback and support.



The bass flute adds two qualities to an ensemble: timbre and low-end support. The timbre of the bass is my personal favourite of the flute family; it can growl and grunt in the bottom register and is sweetest in the third. Its sound produces many more partials due to its wider bore, and it is almost as agile as a regular flute. It performs an invaluable role in the flute ensemble by filling out the lower end and supporting the lowest flutes that are not always loud or plentiful enough to counter-balance the top end.



The festival was inspired by the European new music festivals such as Darmstadt in Germany and Impuls in Austria. Tilde aims to promote contemporary art music including improvisation, sound art and works by living composers. It also provides a rare opportunity for composers, performers and sound artists to get together and interact with a growing network of new music enthusiasts and to showcase their work in a relaxing outdoor environment. The 2015 Tilde New Music Festival will be held on Saturday 24th January at Testing Grounds in Southbank, Melbourne.



Three of my favourites:

Matthias Zeigler, Switzerland – Matthias’ album Uakti demonstrates his experimentation in amplifying the microsounds produced by the contrabass flute, creating interesting and engaging electroacoustic works.

Eva Furrer, Austria – Eva is a fantastic flutist and performer who plays some of the most challenging works for bass flute in the contemporary European style.

Peter Sheridan, Australia – Peter has the deepest, most resonant sound of any low flutes player I have heard. He makes the instruments sing, defying any restraint that the sometimes-clumsy instruments have.



I don’t have a single favourite, but the following are great works for low flutes:

Salvatore Sciarrino – Opera for Solo Flute/Bass Flute

Beat Furrer – Ira-Arca for bass flute and double bass

Vincent Giles – Differing Dialogues for bass flute and pre-recorded low flutes



With technical innovations making low flutes cheaper and more accessible to performers and students, these instruments are becoming more and more popular with both performers and composers. I see a lot of good music making in the future!

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Carla Rees – An Interview

Happy NEW YEAR to all our readers out there!

I had the wonderful opportunity to have a brief chat to the outstanding British Low Flutes specialist, Carla Rees the other day. This extraordinary performer, arranger and improviser has contributed so much to promotion and enthusiasm of these instruments, that it is only fitting to have her intriguing story as our very first ‘featured artist.’ We hope you enjoy the story and performance links.

Carla Rees


I first played an alto on a flute course as a teenager and fell in love with it. I lived in a rural area where there weren’t many flute teachers, and began teaching at the age of 14 after I did ABRSM Grade 8. I charged £3 a lesson, and saved up until I had enough to buy an alto flute. They were hard to find at that time, and I managed to get a second hand Monnig for £1000  – it changed my life! I loved the sound, and it opened up a lot of opportunities because I was the only one that had one. My first lessons on alto didn’t come until much later -when I was at the Royal College of Music, there was a masterclass once with Mary Karen Clardy, which helped me realise I was on the right track, and later Simon Channing joined the faculty. He ​did some orchestral alto playing and was kind enough to give me some lessons. By the end of my undergraduate I was convinced I wanted to specialise on alto – and later added bass (and now contrabass) to my low flutes collection.



It’s hard to say exactly because my archives were lost in a house fire in 2011. I started working with composers around 15 years ago, and now I get sent a new piece through the call for scores nearly every week. I think it’s probably close to around 800 pieces that have​​ been written for me, but a smaller number (300 maybe) that have been written as part of a closer collaboration with composers.​ My ensemble, rarescale, premieres around 30 pieces a year, and I do more premieres with other projects too. I’ve also had nearly 100 works written specially for Kingma System low flutes.



​I started off wanting to specialise on chamber music repertoire for the alto flute in around 2000. At that time there were very few published pieces, and what I could find was either too musically bland or extreme contemporary repertoire, neither of which were particularly suitable for me at the time. So I set about to create the repertoire, and formed rarescale as a flexible chamber ensemble in 2003 to help promote the works through performance, and in 2012 I launched Tetractys Publishing to make some of the pieces available to the general public.​



​When I was at the RCM, I was lucky enough to come into contact with Michael Oliva, an electroacoustic composer. He has a particular interest in writing music for low woodwind instruments, so it was inevitable that we’d start a collaboration. We’ve been working together now for around 15 years, and his music incredibly idiomatic for low flutes. ​ He understands the instruments​ and his language combines the tradition of Debussy, Ravel and Scriabin with the spectral language of Murail. It’s music that has something expressive to say, and which is a real pleasure to play.



​My Masters research was on the history of the alto flute since Boehm. During that time (1999 ish) I heard about Eva Kingma’s development of a quartertone system flute. I was finding the closed holes of the alto flute a major obstacle in musical expression – I had studied a little bit with Robert Dick and extended techniques were (and still are) part of my musical language. I was a major frustration having to deal with the​ limitations of a closed hole alto – so I approached Eva about a Kingma system alto.  The system has developed and refined since then, ​and the ergonomics, as well as head joint design, have improved significantly. Now you can do more with a Kingma System alto than a standard C flute, and my doctoral research explores how the Kingma System can be used to develop repertoire on both alto and bass flute. As part of it I made websites about each instrument – and it’s an enormous privilege to be part of the dialogue between composers and makers, and the repertoire, and the instrument itself, develops as a result of this dialogue.



​I love the diversity of my low flute playing colleagues, and it’s a real honour to be able to work with them. Each one of the world leading players has their own area of special interest, and a personal repertoire develops around them. Every time I get to work with them I learn more and more – and have a great time too!​



​That’s a hard one – so many great pieces! Michael Oliva’s Apparition and Release has become something of a theme tune for me – we’ve performed it over 80 times now I think. But there are sooo many great pieces in different styles…I could give you a massive list!!​



​Low flutes are becoming increasingly important in the flute world. When I started out it was several years before I met anyone else with an alto flute – now everyone has them. It’s a very exciting time – the repertoire that has been developed over the last 15 years is now starting to be played by more people, and the instruments are improving all the time. ​


RECORDINGS (Sound files):

Michael’s Apparition and Release –

Multitracked arrangement of Lotti –

And a bit of Bach –

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The Art of Elegant Conversation – Elysium Ensemble

Review by Angus McPherson

Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773)

Sei Duetti, op. 2 (1959)


  The Art of Elegant Conversation, a recording of Johann Joachim Quantz’s Sei Duetti by Greg Dikmans and Lucinda Moon of the Elysium Ensemble, is the first of a series of recordings intended to promote newly discovered and hitherto neglected chamber music from the Baroque and early-Classical periods. Despite the fame Quantz enjoys in the flute community, particularly for his treatise Versuch einer Anweisung die Flöte traversiere zu spielen (1752) and some of his better-known sonatas and concertos, much of his vast compositional output remains unpublished and unrecorded. Performed on period instruments and informed by a close study of the Versuch, this CD is a thoughtful and sensitive exploration of Quantz’s rarely performed Sei Duetti.   From 1741 until his death in 1773, Quantz served in the court of King Frederick II of Prussia, a flute player and an avid music lover. Quantz was Frederick’s flute teacher and was responsible for the King’s private chamber music concerts; he was also the only member of the court permitted to critique the King’s flute playing. Written as didactic works (in his preface to the score, Quantz extolls the virtues of playing duets as an important part of a musician’s training) it is not impossible that the Sei Duetti were first played by Quantz and King.   Although Quantz composed these duets for two flutes, in his preface he outlines a number of different possible instrumental combinations, writing: “In general, duets as well as trios produce a better and more intelligible effect on two instruments of different type than upon instruments of the same kind.” The combination of flute and violin used in this recording is particularly effective. The two distinct timbres provide clarity between the voices, allowing the listener to follow Quantz’s two-part writing and enhancing the impression of a sophisticated dialogue. Dikmans and Moon form a crisp, well-balanced ensemble, their parts weaving independently at times before joining together in perfectly synchronised flourishes. The result is beautiful, engaging and far more interesting than one would expect from over an hour of flute duets.   This CD will be fascinating for those interested in the music of Quantz and the style that straddles the end of the Baroque and beginning of the Classical period. Well-researched and insightful, this performance is also an excellent example of the practical applications of the study of Quantz’s Versuch. A PDF scan of the first edition of the score, from 1759, is available from the International Music Score Library Project for those who want to delve more deeply into this music.   The Art of Elegant Conversation is a charming, multifaceted recording that will delight both casual listeners and aficionados of historically informed performance. Dikmans and Moon have taken Quantz’s duets, deceptively light on the surface, and turned them into a conversation that is stimulating as well as elegant.   The Art of Elegant Conversation is available from Resonus Classics and iTunes.

All articles and reviews published on this website are representative of the opinions of the author/s alone and do not reflect the opinions of FTA or it’s affiliates

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