November 21 – Impressions Exotiques 1. Idylle champêtre by Sigfrid Karg-Elert

Sigfried Karg-Elert, born on this day in 1877, was a German composer and organist who wrote several boundary-pushing works for the flute in addition to his many well-known works for organ and harmonium. While many flutists are familiar with his 30 Caprices for Solo Flute, Karg-Elert wrote eight other substantial works for the flute including Impressions Exotiques, all written between 1917 and 1919. His compositions for flute sought to exploit the full range of dynamics, colors, and technical capacity of the increasingly popular Boehm flute.

Performed by Jenny Davis, flute and Claudio Olivera, piano

November 29 – Flute Sonata in C Major by Gaetano Donizetti

Today we celebrate the birthday of Gaetano Donizetti, born in 1797. Donizetti was a leading composer of bel canto opera in the early 1800s and this piece clearly comes from a similar aesthetic. A rare piece of flute music from the early romantic period, this work shows off soaring melodic lines carried by brilliantly technical passages as only an opera composer can supply.

Performed by Sabrina Raber, flute and Qiaoni Liu, piano

August 22 – Three Pieces, III. Menuet by Claude Debussy

Claude Debussy was born on this day in 1862. He is most well known for his impressionistic style of composition and his extension of the contemporary limits of harmony and form through the usage of non-traditional scales and chromaticism. The Three Pieces for Flute and Piano are a transcription of movements from two different suites for piano. This movement, Menuet, is from his Petite Suite, L. 65 for four-hands.

Performed by Brianna Futch, flute and Claudio Olivera, piano


July 3

Philippe Gaubert, born on this day in 1879, is well-respected as a flutist, composer, and pedagogue. As the flute professor at the Paris Conservatory, he wrote many of his compositions and methods to help the students there. This shorter piece is less often played but exhibits the flutist’s knowledge of the sonority of the instrument.

July 27 – Sonata for Flute and Piano, II. Aria by Otar Taktakishvili

Otar Taktakishvili, born on this day in 1924, was a prominent Georgian composer perhaps best known in America for his Sonata for Flute and Piano. He also composed the Georgian National Anthem and many of his compositions, including the flute sonata, reflect his nationalist fervor. Mimi Harding is a Senior Flute Performance Major at the University of South Carolina.

June 23 – Sonata Undine, II. by Carl Reinecke

Carl Reinecke, born on this day in 1824, was perhaps the most influential flute composer of the 19th century. His iconic Sonata Undine exhibits the romanticism, sweeping melodies, and programmatic form typical of the music of his time. This recording is part of a larger project pairing music based on poetry with the words that inspire it. The album Words and Music is available from Titanic Records.

May 15 – Sicilienne by Maria Theresia von Paradis

Born in Vienna on this day in 1759, pianist, singer and composer Maria Theresia von Paradis was blind from the age of 2. Her most famous composition, the Sicilienne posted here (originally for piano quartet), is now thought to have been composed by Samuel Dushkin, a composer himself who claimed to have found the work. Regardless of its origins, it is a poignant melody and a beautiful addition to the flute repertoire.
Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute and C
Recorded by Jeff Francis

May 17 – Gymnopédie 1 by Erik Satie

Erik Satie, born on this day in 1866, published his set of Gymnopédies for piano in 1888 in Paris. In contrast to the displays of virtuosity often exhibited by 19th-century piano music, these pieces are decided simple and tranquil. The precise meaning of the title is uncertain except for a poem by Contamine published alongside the first Gymnopédie which includes the lines “…amber atoms in the fire gleaming/Mingled their sarabande with the gymnopaedia.”

May 23

Performed by Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute and Winifred Goodwin, piano
Recorded by John Epps

French composer Jean Françaix was born on this day in 1912. His parents were both professional musicians and he showed an early and prodigious talent. As a young child, he began composition lessons with famed teacher Nadia Boulanger, who considered him to be one of her best students. None other than Maurice Ravel wrote to the young child’s parents, Among the child’s gifts I observe above all the most fruitful an artist can possess, that of curiosity.This sense of wonder, play and humor is evident throughout Francaix’s entire output. He was also a wonderful melodist, as heard here in the Notturno from his Divertimento for Flute and Piano (1953).

April 2 – Vocalise by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Performed by
Jennifer Parker-Harley, flute
Winifred Goodwin, piano
Recorded by John Epps

Sergei Rachmaninoff was born on this day in 1873. Known both as a pianist and composer, his works exemplify Russian late Romanticism. The Vocalise, originally written for voice without words and piano, has been transcribed for countless instrumental combinations. The simple and poignant melody is supported by Rachmaninoff’s characteristic lush harmonic language that makes his style so attractive and recognizable.