Sonatine for flute and piano
In this masterclass, student Dorotea Senica interprets Henri Dutilleux’s Sonatine. Master flautist Philippe Bernold places the focus on the construction of sentences, color changes, expression, and overall structure. He instructs Senica to consider herself as a “third voice or a third hand of the piano.”
Next, Bernold underlines the importance of finding the right sound in each register. Using vivid description, he distinguishes and associates the different registers of flute with their respective ‘color.’ This leads to a discourse about timbral variation. The master explains that if there is an absence of musical notation indicating how the piece should be played, music in the high register should be played brightly “…like the sun, the medium register is more clouded, and finally the low register is dark.”
In addition, the master discusses intervals and sostenuto or sustaining the notes. Large intervals require more energy in order to sustain a phrase. The larger the interval, the greater the degree of emotion.
Throughout this masterclass, Bernold emphasizes the importance of painting a picture through the music. In other words, he implores the student to tell a clear narrative through her performance, one that can be followed logically and emotionally by the audience.
Large intervals inspire higher emotion and expression.
The function of sostenuto in relation to the flute register.
The importance of structure.
Employing different tones, colors, and timbre is essential.
Effective story-telling through music.
This piece is structured in three “movements” that are played without breaks. The Allegretto carries a particular theme in 7/8 timing, with jagged interval leaps. A cadenza transitions to the second section: a lyrical Andante that showcases Dutilleux’s penchant for colorful harmonies and dreamlike melodies. A sprightly animated section highlighting synergy between the flute and piano is followed by a second cadenza that progresses into an accelerando, and leads to the finale.`
Henri Dutilleux aimed to encourage young composers to explore instrumental technique, as well as strongly advise students to work on new scores — new music.
Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this flute masterclass. 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.
Henri Dutilleux was a French composer born in 1916 in Angers, France. He began his musical studies in Douai and then continued his education in Paris. He did not compose many pieces because his work required a careful, slow, and intellectual process. His music is in the continuity of the famous composers like Debussy and Ravel, but with an iconoclastic style. He gathered many prizes in the 30s, occupied the prominent position of head of the musical production at Radio France for nearly two decades, was a renowned professor in the 60s and received the French Légion d’honneur in 2004.
He married pianist Geneviève Joy in 1945 and composed several film scores spanning several decades, the latest being in the 80s with Under the Sun of Satan by Maurice Pialat. Dutilleux claimed that his work was influenced by Beethoven, and cites his late string quartets as one of his most favorite pieces of all time.
Henri Dutilleux died at the age of 97 in Paris and was buried, as per his wish, next to his beloved wife, who passed a few years prior. His influence still echoes everywhere, and he is often regarded as one of the most influential composers of the second part of the 20th century. His repertoire includes a piano sonata, two symphonies, the cello concerto Tout un monde lointain…, the violin concerto L'arbre des songes, the string quartet Ainsi la nuit and Sonatine for flute and piano.