Major Flute Repertoire and Composers

Discover a sampling of flute music from Baroque to Modern Periods. Learning about the music from each time period will help you improve your understanding of flute literature. Listening to representative works will improve your understanding and appreciation for the music of the past and discover how composers changed their styles and techniques over the centuries.

Baroque Period

Baroque composers were experimenting with new ways of creating sound by creating highly ornamented compositions. Occupying the years from 1600 to 1750 the Baroque period is home to the music of Bach, Vivaldi, Telemann, and Tartini.

Sample Flute Works:

Bach, J.S.: Sonata in G Minor
Corelli, Arcangelo: Sonatas No. 9
Handel, George Frideric: Sonatas in D and G major, E, A, and B minor.
Telemann, Georg Philipp: 12 Fantasias
Vivaldi, Antonio: Concerto in G Minor Op. 10 No. 2 "La Notte"

Classical Period

The Classical Period deals with music from 1750 to 1820. Classical music focused on balance, proportion, and order. Compared to Baroque music the Classical period was very tame and structured. Often people confuse the term Classical with an uppercase "C" to classical with a lowercase "c". The distinction is that Classical refers to a time period, while classical refers to all Western art music.

Sample Flute Works:

Beethoven: 6 Themes and Variations for Flute and Piano, Op. 105
Gluck, Christoph Willibald: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Haydn, Franz Joseph: Concerto in D
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus: The Magic Flute
Quants, Johann Joachim: Concerto in G

Romantic Period

Romantic period composers were experimenting with human expression, sentimentality, and the power of the individual. Harmonic tonalities and musical forms expanded, and virtuosos began to take the limelight. The Romantic composers wrote music from 1820 to 1910.

Sample Flute Works:

Chopin, Frédéric François: Variations on a Theme of Rossini
Debussy, Claude-Achille: Syrinx
Saint-Saëns, Charles-Camille: Airs de ballet d'Ascanio
Satie, Erik: Three Gymnopedies
Schubert, Franz: Variations on a Theme of Trockne Blume

20th Century Music

Music written after 1910 can be considered part of the Modern Period of music. Smaller ensembles, and less emotionally charged music became the norm for these composers. The music poses intellectual and challenging harmonies and melodies. Composers experimented with extended instrument techniques such as key clicks and multiphonics.

Sample Flute Works:

Berio, Luciano: Sequenza I
Copland, Aaron: Duo for Flute and Piano
Varèse, Edgard: Density 21.5
Messiaen, Olivier: Le Merle Noir
Poulenc, Francis: Sonata


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