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Concerto Pour Flûte et Piano - Germaine Tailleferre

Nana's Sunday Jams

Concerto Pour Flûte et Piano - Germaine Tailleferre

Banner artwork by the majestic Trav, all of Nana's jams are gathered in this playlist. 

Yes Sunday Jammers, welcome, welcome, welcome back, Warmest of greetings to you. So, it’s official, I cannot ignore it anymore; the end of the year is within view and another cycle is approaching. The music, as always, has provided much needed solace and space to help think it all through so hope it’s been filtering down to you. After this next mini tour we start the countdown to the season of sparkle, fizz and festivities in whatever way, shape or form that comes in for you.


Before all that though part two of instrumentals and compositions. This week’s selection is a piece of sunshine wrapped up in the flute and piano, an absolute beauty of a tune. Last week’s offering from The Herbaliser was an example of a modern composition that referenced classical structures in modern music forms. Today’s piece is a more traditional classical composition by French composer Germaine Tailleferre; its sunshine and fizz all squeezed into one sumptuous arrangement. Some things you should know about Tailleferre; she was very well known in her native France, was strongly courted by Hollywood but turned them down, she was the only female member of a group of French Composers known as Les Six; a trailblazer in every sense of the word. She composed music over decades, starting in 1909 right through to 1982 – and those are the ones that can be verified- making her prolific. Her name should be spoken in the same breath as any of the well-known male composers whose music has travelled through time and shaped modern classical music. It’s one of the most ridiculous slights that pre-twenty century female composers are still relatively unknown in the wider sense.


‘Concerto Pour Flute et Piano’ is a lilting and joyous piece, elegantly structured full of beautiful notations paced by well-timed rises and falls. I constantly talk about measuring a piece of music’s ability to transport you to somewhere else and this is a prime example. I’m convinced this could literally and physically do that. From the moment it starts it just fills the room with fresh, clean crisp air, the kind that comes with the break of spring, the promise of outdoor gatherings, longer days and the joy that comes with being in the company of people you like. This piece was written in the 1920s so post the First World War before the Great Depression during the roaring twenties. It begins at almost breakneck speed, not waiting to build up any momentum, continuing to spread itself out adding bassy notes as it heads towards the close — which always hits me in the middle. I love the interplay between the flute and piano — it isn’t competitive, more playful pushing each other to go on picking by strings along the way. It mixes moments of introspection with exuberance in such an exquisite and stylish way. There is a lightness in Tailleferre’s arrangement that could come across as frivolous but do not be fooled it’s anything but. There is a steady sureness that directs the narrative and helps it to maintain balance throughout so much so that I am always taken by surprise when it ends. So, so, so skilful and sublime.


I hope it brings joy and inspires a deep dive into some classical magic. I promise you it will lighten your mood and, if you need it, create space in your brain for some audio sunshine. Bask, Sunday Jammers, loves to you.