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.

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

With summer holidays upon us, well at least in the southern hemisphere where I am based, many of us have a lovely long break to look forward to. This is a great chance to set up a regular, relaxed practice routine and give your playing a boost along. It’s a good opportunity to learn some new repertoire you’d like to focus on in the coming year but remember as I always say; every practice session should contain some work on tone, technique, articulation and repertoire in order for it to be a really worthwhile session.