With the new school year upon us (at least in the Southern hemisphere) it’s a great time to reassess how you organise your practice. Why not schedule regular flute practice sessions into your timetable as you do with all your other events? In the same way that you schedule in a sports training session or other classes, simply include your flute practice as regular commitments in your week. That way you don’t have to keep thinking ‘oh I should do some flute practice’, you just go and do it at the appointed time.

Looking forward to giving a workshop at Ballarat High School tomorrow. Topics include embouchure, posture, hand positions, technique and of course breathing, with a good dash of ensemble playing in the mix.

Just a reminder that I’ll be presenting for the Victorian Flute Guild’s Professional Development Day on August 25th. I’ve attached a flyer and you can also visit victorianfluteguild.org for more details. The venue is St. Catherine’s School, Heyington Place, Toorak.


  • I will be presenting a masterclass for the Geelong Music Teachers’ Association on Thursday August 10th at Geelong College. geelongmusicteachers.com.au is their website for further details. I’m looking forward to visiting Geelong again.

The final set of program notes from Alicia McGorlick. Thanks Alicia!

Voice (1971)
Toru Takemitsu

Takemitsu is an internationally recognised composer who composed music with a distinct fusion of traditional Eastern styles, in this case Japanese style, and Western forms in his pieces.[1] His ‘avant-garde’ work ‘Voice’, dedicated to Aurèle Nicolet, revolves around the use of the voice, through humming, singing and speaking into the flute. Extended techniques from Bruno Bartolozzi construct the basis of the work. This includes Noh flute attacks (a breathy attack from a Noh kan flute used in the Japanese Noh Theatre), pitch bending, microtones, double tremolos, key clicks, multiphonics and whisper tones. The concept of ‘ma’ 間depicts a Japanese aspect of time and space and is used in this piece through the use of sound and silence coexisting with one another.[2] The poem spoken both off and on the flute is written by Shuzo Takiguchi from his “Handmade Proverbs”:

Qui va la? Qui que tu sois? Parle transparence!
Who goes there? Speak transparence! Whoever you are!

[1] Hwee Been Koh, East and West: The Aesthetics and Musical Time of Toru Takemitsu, Ph.D diss, Boston University, 1998, 1. (CHECK THEORY AND METHODS ASSIGNMENT IF YOU WISH TO REWORD A BIT)

[2] http://adminstaff.vassar.edu/jochenette/Takemitsu_essay_Chenette.pdf page 2

Some more program notes from Alicia McGorlick.


Fantaisie (1913)
Georges Hue

The 1889 Paris Universal Exposition was a stage where groups from around the world displayed the best of their countries’ architecture, industry, culture and arts including music. It was here where the influence of Eastern music was first heard by many French composers such as Claude Debussy and quickly spread to other French flute composers such as Georges Hue.[1] Dedicated to Paul Taffanel, a flautist and professor at the Paris Conservatoire, Fantaisie displays Asian tones and the virtuosity of the modern Boehm flute. As a classic French Romantic piece, it includes long lyrical lines and impressive technical passages with playful chromatic melodies exchanged between the flute and piano.[2] The piece also requires a masterful use of extreme dynamics and tone, and as such, Hue’s Fantaisie was set as a competition piece for the end of the year exams at the Paris Conservatoire

[1] http://www.arthurchandler.com/paris-1889-exposition/

[2] https://www.gettysburg.edu/dotAsset/d013a2dd-1cce-442b-9723-7538f3cb846a.pdf page 5, check it’s your own wording

Here are some more program notes. Reinecke’s Undine Sonata written by my student Alicia McGorlick for her recent honours recital. Might be of use to anyone learning or performing this piece. Notes for Hue Fantasie and Takemitsu Voice to follow shortly.

Undine Flute Sonata Opus 167
Carl Reinecke

Carl Reinecke’s Sonata in E minor is based on the German romantic tale by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. The tale depicts Undine, a water spirit, who longs for an immortal soul which can only be obtained through true love with a mortal man.

The first movement portrays Undine in her underwater world with flute melodies that give off watery sounds.[1] She leaves the water kingdom in search of love with a mortal man and is discovered as a child by a fisherman and his wife who have recently lost their own daughter, who then decide to raise Undine as their own.[2]

The second movement paints a picture of Undine’s cheeky nature as she is growing up, which is depicted through the piano and flute melodic lines that chase each other. The piano’s proud folk-like solo section represents the knight Huldebrand who seeks shelter at the fisherman’s house from a raging storm.[3] He then falls in love with Undine.

The third movement represents the couples’ happy marriage.[4] They then both befriend Bertalda, who is revealed to be the true daughter of the fisherman and his wife. The peacefulness is interrupted when a fountain is uncovered and Undine’s uncle, a water spirit, rushes out and beckons to Undine not to continue this relationship with a mortal.[5] All is stilled suddenly by the dropping of a boulder over the fountain.[6]

In the fourth movement, all three good friends take a trip on the Danube, which rouses the anger of the water spirits.[7] Huldebrand states he wishes he never married Undine, for his life is constantly in danger from spirits. In shock, Undine falls overboard and sinks to the bottom.[8] Thinking she is dead, Huldebrand makes plans to marry Bertalda.[9] On the night of Huldebrand’s wedding Undine returns as a spirit and kills him with a kiss.[10]

[1] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[2] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[3] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[4] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[5] http://www.storynory.com/2013/06/06/undine/

[6] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[7] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[8] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[9] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

[10] https://www.classicalconnect.com/Flute_Music/Reinecke/Flute_Sonata_Undine/1473

Here are some program notes for Gluck’s Dance Of The Blessed Spirits written by my student Alicia McGorlick for her recent honours recital. Might be of use to anyone learning or performing this piece. Notes for Hue Fantasie, Reinecke’s Undine Sonata and Takemitsu Voice to follow shortly.


Minuet and Dance of the Blessed Spirits, Orfeo ed Euridice
Christoph Willibald Gluck

Up to the age of twelve, Gluck lived a rural life, wandering around the forest and countryside of his home in Lobkowitz estates at Eisenberg.[1] He was then sent to school where he learnt to play both piano and organ and continued on to study music in Prague in 1732.[2] In 1736 Gluck travelled to Vienna where he found his passion for composing operas.[3] This famous solo for flute comes from Gluck’s famous opera “Orfeo ed Euridice”. Listeners may be surprised to hear that this tranquil music comes from the moment when Orpheus journeys to Hades, the underworld, to find his departed wife Euridice.[4] He is told that he may journey there and return with his wife on the condition that he not look back at her figure till they have returned to earth, but alas he looks back at her and she is unable to return to the realm of the living with him. The Minuet has a light-filled serenity depicting blessed spirits in their elegance as he journeys through the underworld.[5] By contrast the Dance is filled with deep sorrow and a sense of mourning. This particular arrangement includes flute and guitar accompaniment.


[2] BOOK

[3] BOOK

[4] http://www.allmusic.com/composition/dance-of-the-blessed-spirits-melody-arrangement-from-orfeo-ed-euridice-mc0002376017

[5] http://www.roh.org.uk/news/orphee-et-eurydice-musical-highlights-dance-of-the-blessed-spirits-and-dance-of-the-furies