Piece for Solo Flute
Professor Philippe Bernold and student Clémence Beal work on Jacques Ibert’s piece for solo flute in this masterclass.
To begin with, Beal is instructed to pay attention to the tempo since there is no orchestra to support her. With this, Bernold adds that the rhythmic style written by Ibert is very precise and leave no room for improvisation. He also advises his student to maintain the habanera style and mood of the piece, and avoid rushing the triplets. Everything must be simple yet sophisticated. Beal must respect all the nuances.
Bernold explains that this piece must be played like “someone is looking for their way,” with a certain humor, and attention to detail.
Maintaining a stable tempo and pulsation.
Remembering the context of the piece and the habanera style.
Keeping it light and simple, yet sophisticated.
Avoid rushing the triplets.
Respecting the many nuances and details.
This piece was written in 1936 by French neoclassical composer Jacques Ibert and was premiered by famous flautist Marcel Moyse. Ibert structured the Piece for Solo flute in three movements and two contrasting themes; the first one being a slow lyrical melody and the second one being faster in contrast. The third and final movement brings back the theme of the first movement, featuring more embellishments.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this masterclass for the flute. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Philippe Bernold’s feedback and comments.
In 1987 he won First Prize in the Jean-Pierre Rampal International Competition in Paris.
Philippe Bernold began his musical education in Colmar, France, studying the flute and later composition and conducting under the tutelage of René Matter. Later, he attended the National Paris Conservatoire where his notable skill was recognized and earned him First Prize in flute. The following year at only 23-years-old, Bernold was appointed first flute at the Opéra National de Lyon. After winning First Prize at the Jean-Pierre Rampal International Competition in Paris, Bernold was able to launch a successful career as a soloist, performing with world famous artists such as: M. Rostropovitch, R. Capuçon, G. Opitz, and A. Tharaud; as well as with many widely-acclaimed orchestras including the Paris Orchestra, Manchester Hallé Orchestra, Tapiola Sinfonietta, National Orchestra of Lyon, Tokyo and Kyoto Symphony Orchestra, among many more. The accomplished flautist has been directed by highly esteemed conductors including: S. Bychkov, J. E. Gardiner, L. Maazel, K. Nagano, Sir Y. Menuhin, M. Inoué, and T. Koopman. He has performed in concert halls worldwide including but not limited to the Royal Festival Hall in London, Warsaw Philharmonic, the Seoul Art Center in South Korea, and Tchaïkovsky Conservatory in Moscow. Years later, Philippe Bernold returned to conducting after founding “Les Virtuoses de l’Opéra de Lyon.” After its formation, the ensemble was lauded for its high level of artistry. Since then, he has been invited to conduct concerts with such ensembles including the Sinfonia Varsovia, Bilbao, the National Opera Orchestra of Lyon, Baden Baden Philharmonie, Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Philharmonic Orchestra of Marseille, Kanazawa Ensemble (Japan), and more. Additionally, Philippe Bernold has made many accomplished recordings. Most notably, Bernard was the recipient of the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros for his very first recording in 1989. Philippe Bernold is Professor of Chamber Music and flute at the National Paris Conservatoire.
Jacques Ibert, a French composer known for his versatile and eclectic compositional style, was born in Paris in 1890. Though his mother, a pianist, encouraged his participation in music from a young age, his father wanted him to take over the family business. By the time he attended the Paris Conservatory to study composition, his father had cut him off financially, so Ibert worked as an accompanist and composer of popular music under a pen name. He developed a great love for theater and would sometimes play as a pianist for silent movies. His studies were interrupted after he was drafted into military service in World War I, where he served in a medical unit. Luckily, he survived the war with no major injuries, and upon his return in 1919, he won the Prix de Rome for composition.
While studying in Rome, Ibert composed the two pieces that would gain him recognition as a composer in France and internationally: La Ballade de la Geôle de Reading (1920) and Escales (1922). He established himself as a top composer of his generation with the success of his popular opera-bouffe Angélique in 1927. Throughout his career, Ibert explored nearly every genre, composing works for opera, ballet, film, theater, symphony, chamber ensemble, and solo instruments. Ibert drew inspiration from a number of different styles and composers, refusing to adhere to any one musical tradition. While his music is unique in its lyricism, irony, and wit, he is mainly categorized as an eclectic composer.
Ibert held many administrative positions throughout his life and also enjoyed conducting. He served as the music director of the Académie de France at the Villa Medici in Rome for many years, with a short interruption due to World War II, when Italy and France were at war and his music was banned by the Vichy government. Nonetheless, he enjoyed his position there and enthusiastically shared the French culture in Italy. He also briefly led the Paris Opera and Opéra-Comique, and took on an administrative position at the Académie des Beaux-Arts. Ibert died in 1962 after a lifetime dedicated to French music and culture.
Photo credit: Boris Lipnitzki / Roger-Viollet