Fantasy on "Der Freischütz", 2nd part
In this masterclass, Professor Philippe Bernold helps Yue Zhu work on the Fantasy on "Der Freischütz" by Claude-Paul Taffanel.
Bernold first instructs Zhu to find a story to tell and/or a feeling to project. She must pay attention to her breathing, precision, and phrasing. Bernold explains that intonation and articulation are essential in this piece, and that Zhu must be careful to avoid lowering her head in the lower range of notes. Moreover, she is encouraged to familiarize herself with the opera in order to bring out the character and nuances of the piece in an interesting way.
Finding a story and evoking the emotions of the piece.
Respecting the rhythm.
Maintaining good posture.
As one of the most important flutists and educators of the twentieth century, Claude-Paul Taffanel was responsible for carving a more prominent space for the flute as a virtuosic solo instrument as well as composing works that demonstrated this. He played in and conducted the Paris Opera for much of his career, developing a strong appreciation for opera music. He composed several works for flute and piano or orchestra that drew on themes from operas; his Fantasy on "Der Freischütz" (1877) is one of the most popular. Der Freischütz is an 1821 opera written by German composer Carl Maria von Weber. It marked the transition of German operas into large-scale productions with Germanic plotlines and deep emotion. The fantastical opera tells the story of Max, who attempts to win a marksman competition in order to marry the woman he desires, Agathe. He makes a deal with the devil in order to succeed, leading to an exploration of good versus evil. Fantasy on "Der Freischütz" allows the flute soloist to express a broad range of emotions, moods, and colors and provides an opportunity to demonstrate remarkable virtuosity through difficult technical variations.
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.
Claude-Paul Taffanel (1844-1908) was a French flautist, teacher, and conductor. He was born in Bordeaux, France, where he studied music with his father from a young age. He demonstrated remarkable talent on the flute, so much so that his family moved to Paris, so he could study at the Paris Conservatory with Louis Dorus. He graduated at sixteen with the top prize in flute in 1860. Upon graduating, Taffanel carved out a successful performance career for himself. He performed in the Paris Opéra and the Société des concerts du Conservatoire and organized a chamber music society for wind players, where he played and programmed both early and contemporary music. He also performed frequently as a soloist; many composers of the time even dedicated works to him, including Fauré, Enescu, and Widor.
Taffanel was also active as both a conductor and composer. In 1890, he transitioned from playing flute to conducting at both the Opéra and the Société des concerts du Conservatoire, where he frequently premiered works by modern composers such as Verdi, Wagner, and Saint-Saëns. As a composer, he published several works for flute, including Andante Pastoral et Scherzettino, Fantaisie sur thèmes du Freischütz and Grande Fantaisie sur Mignon, all of which are still frequently performed today. He also composed a major woodwind quintet, Quintet in G minor, which remains a staple in the repertoire for that ensemble.
Taffanel’s largest contribution to music, however, was as a professor. In 1893, he became the professor of flute at the Paris Conservatory, where he revamped both the teaching methods and the approach to flute playing. While still incorporating the traditional masterclass, he allowed the students to receive more individual instruction, and encouraged them to study Baroque music and Mozart rather than only nineteenth century virtuosic works. He is attributed with founding the French Flute School of playing, in which players had a lighter, more sparing use of vibrato as well as a strong, smooth sound that remained even throughout all registers of the flute. He even began developing a method book for flute students that was later completed by his student Phillippe Gaubert and is still an essential part of modern flute education. Other important students of his include Louis Fleury, Georges Barrere, and Marcel Moyse. After a long and influential career, Taffanel died in 1908.