8 American Flute Favorites
The Copland Duo is one of the most iconic American works for flute. The opening is beautiful and serene and has a very nostalgic feel. The rest of the piece changes tempo, mood and melody quickly, and utilizes the piano as an equal partner to the flute.
Every flutist knows the Burton Sonata, but his slightly lesser known 3 movement Concerto is certainly a gem! The nuanced harmonies, complex texture, and powerful yet singing melodies make this concerto a piece to put on your “to play” list immediately!
The opening of the Sonata sets an emotive tone for this beautiful and pensive work. Liebermann never fails to provide us with an abundance of color, warmth and intensity in his music and this Sonata is no exception. Other favorites from Liebermann include his Flute Concerto, Piccolo Concerto and Soliloquy!
Griffes’ Poem has mystical and eerie melodies. In just one continuous movement this piece allows the performer to showcase melodic mastery and maturity. Because of its beautiful and compact nature, this piece fits perfectly into any program!
Technically, this piece can be played with tape or large flute ensemble, but we’ve also seen a solo flutist record all of the 10+ flute parts (doubling piccolo and alto flute) and play the solo part with themself (x10!) Now that is a project for a tech-saavy flutist. With its canonic nature and short repeating melodic patterns, this makes you feel as though you’re in another universe.
Trail of Tears is absolutely captivating from the first note of the opening flute solo. This piece is haunting, magical and an exciting ride. Daugherty describes it as "a musical journey into how the human spirit discovers ways to deal with the upheaval, adversity and adapting to a new environment.” Please do yourself a favor and take a listen to this piece if you do not know it!
Valerie Coleman’s rich and colorful Danza de la Mariposa is inspired by the Yaravi, a Peruvian lament song, giving the listener a tour of the butterflies of South America, who dance and weave in syncopated rhythms while alternating between meters in 3 and 4. This music is for flutists written by a flutist. What could be better?!