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This lesser known work by Saint-Saens is an arrangement of a concerto-like piece for flute and orchestra. In a loose rondo form, the main theme is a decorated scale. Entries of this theme are interspersed with long, almost hymn-like tunes and florid scale and arpeggio patterns. The music passes seamlessly through several keys exploring different moods and aspects of the flute, reaching a climax almost two thirds of the way in to the piece, before a beautifully calm coda lets the music float away.

This is a piece that deserves to be much better known. As a single movement solo piece, it’s a great way for a player to begin to get some experience at playing in an ensemble situation. The solo line is demanding, but not excessively so. The ensemble parts are generally straightforward, first flute needs to be a confidant strong player.


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Robert Rainford

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