The best pieces for flute: our top picks

The BBC Music Magazine team choose their favourite works for flute

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The best pieces for flute: our top picks
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Europe’s oldest flute organisation, the British Flute Society, holds its major flute competitions today, and to mark the occasion we’ve chosen our favourite pieces for the instrument.

 

Jeremy Pound, Deputy editor
Mozart Concerto for Flute and Harp, K299

Listening to Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp on near-continuous loop as I revised for finals in 1994 proved a remarkably effective aid to committing Thucydides, Plato and Aristotle to memory. It also gave me a love of the piece that remains to this day. Though the exquisite central Andantino is by far the most familiar of the three movements, it’s the chirpy, companionable conversation between the two soloists in the Rondeau finale that has me pressing the ‘repeat’ button all over again.

Recommended recording:
Emmanuel Pahud (flute), Marie-Pierre Langlamet (harp); Berlin Philharmonic/Claudio Abbado
EMI 085 1952

 

Rebecca Franks, Reviews editor
Chaminade Flute Concertino

The singing melody of Cécile Chaminade’s Flute Concertino always springs to mind when I think of the instrument. That’s probably because it seemed to be the piece of choice for flautists playing with my school and youth orchestras – I’ve lost count of how many times I played the viola part in the orchestra (and how many times I lost count in the piece). It’s not hard to see why it’s so often chosen, though – this 1902 concertino, written for the Paris Conservatoire, has a winning combination of easy, sunny grace and playful virtuosity.

Recommended recording:
Sharon Bezaly (flute); Residentie Orkest den Haag/Neeme Järvi
BIS BIS1679

 

Neil McKim, Production editor
Poulenc Sonata for Flute and Piano, FP164

Seven years ago I was lucky to see flautist Emmanuel Pahud and pianist Ashley Wass performing this well-loved Sonata for Flute and Piano by Poulenc at a festival. The delightful piece was written in 1957 (for the Coolidge Foundation) and contains three enchanting movements, beginning with the furtive Allegretto malincolico, followed by the gorgeous Cantilena – with its instantly memorable main melody – and the high-spirted Presto giocoso which races to the finish line. 

Recommended recording:
Patrick Gallois (flute), Pascal Rogé (piano)
Decca 475 7097

 

Freya Parr, Editorial assistant
Reinecke Flute Sonata, Op. 167, ‘Undine’

A firm favourite amongst flautists, ‘Undine’ showcases the best features of the instrument in a retelling of the fairy-tale in which Undine, a water nymph, marries a knight and is then betrayed by him and takes revenge. Reinecke explores and expands upon the initial theme such an adventurous way, and it is by no means an easy piece. Sharon Bezaly’s interpretation is a standout – her rich tone and delicate attention to the lower register suits this piece perfectly, and she plays with the perfect level of expression.

Recommended recording:
Sharon Bezaly (flute), Ronald Brautigam (piano)
BISSACD1729

 

Listen to our free Spotify playlist for some of our other favourite pieces of music written for the flute. 

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