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Philippe Bernold, Dutilleux, Sonatine for flute and piano

Sequence published on 10/3/20
Composer : Henri Dutilleux
Year of composition : 1943
Artistic period : 20th century
Academy : Academy Nov. 1 - Nov. 8, 2021
Master(s) : Philippe Bernold
Student : Dorotea Senica
Date of recording : 10/22/21
Instrument(s) played :

"The music is hanging on what we do between the notes." Philippe Bernold

About the Flute class of Philippe Bernold on the Sonatine

Flute Master class by Philippe Bernold | Dutilleux, Sonatine

Some issues that are worked on during this class, in which the student interprets a Dutilleux
Sonatine, can be easily extrapolated to think about the interpretation of other works. The
construction of the sentences, the color changes, and the importance of the structure are some
of the topics that the master highlights.

At first, the master proposes to think of this piece as a vocalize, as an exercise “that is done to
try to find the right sound on each note of the register. When playing, there is always a need to be
a little more energy between the notes, to put glue between the notes. The melody grows up”. In
this sense, he also highlights the importance of playing like a singer, putting glue between the
notes and the intervals, and differentiating the amount of “glue” that should be used in small and
large intervals: “When the interval is big, you have to put a little more glue. That means a little
more energy coming from your body (…) sustaining a phrase. It means when you go up, you put
glue between the notes, but when you go down, less glue, less sustaining”.
The master differentiates the different registers of the flute, with their respective colors, thus
speaking about a very important topic, which is the timbral variation: “Third floor, second-floor,
rez-de-chaussée - ground floor, and basement (…) A flute on the high register sounds more
than a flute in the medium register (…) the high register is sunny. The medium register is
clouded and the low register is dark”.
Near the end, there is a sentence that sums up this whole class: “What we need is a story that
begins modestly, that goes on the light (…) your audience should understand a story that
begins, who has a middle, and who ends with virtuosity. It's always very important
to build not only one phrase but several phrases together to do a rhetoric speech”.

What we learn in this Flute Master class

- When the intervals are bigger, the emotion and the expression are on the highest point.
- The musician is telling a story 
- The importance of the structure
- Using different tones, colors, and timbre is important.

About Henri Dutilleux's work

Dutilleux writes about his piece, “I had written… some pieces commissioned by Claude Delvincourt, then the director of the Conservatory. He had a double aim: to make young composers explore instrumental technique (you can’t write any old thing for young players) and, at the same time, to force instrumental students to work on new scores, which Delvincourt wanted to be full of traps and technical difficulties.
This is how I came to write, one after the other, pieces for bassoon, flute, oboe, and trombone; the flute piece is the Sonatine for flute and piano, which has been recorded many times abroad, although I have never wanted it to be recorded in France because it doesn’t yet sound really like my music. But I haven’t put any embargo on that.” This piece is structured in three “movements” that are played without breaks. The Allegretto contains a particular theme in 7/8 with jagged interval leaps and a cadenza transitions to the lyrical Andante second section that showcases his penchant for coloristic harmonies and dreamlike melodies. A sprightly Animé section featuring frequent trade-offs between the flute and piano is followed by a second cadenza that leads into an accelerando to the finale.
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