University of Tasmania

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Interpreting the flute works of Jean Francaix (1912-1997)

posted on 2023-06-14, 09:43 authored by Fraser, ABG (nee Badcock)
There is surprisingly little written about French composer Jean Fran‚àövüaix (1912-1997), considering his prolific output of around 200 works. In addition to his numerous compositions, Fran‚àövüaix was a talented orchestrator, conductor and pianist, touring extensively throughout his lifetime. Over a quarter of his music was written for wind instruments, and more than forty of these works are for flute, either as a prominent solo instrument or in a chamber music setting. Although Fran‚àövüaix's flute works are technically demanding, they are pleasing to the ear, reflecting his desire to create 'musique pour faire plaisir'. This research explores the translation of this aim through Fran‚àövüaix's flute music documented in a series of recitals featuring his works and an accompanying exegesis. The written component contextualises the works performed, interrogating the composer's objectives through research of the historical background and the technical and expressive mandate of these works. Twelve of Fran‚àövüaix's flute works have been chosen for this study, evenly soloistic and chamber oriented, representing the style and various genres of his flute music. Ranging from his Suite pour Fl‚àö¬™te Seule to the Quintette ‚àö‚Ć Vent No. 1, these works display characteristics of Fran‚àövüaix's compositional style, including his use of neoclassical techniques, modern harmonies and rhythms and his inherent French wit. As the majority of literature on Fran‚àövüaix consists of reviews and brief mentions in passing, there is little dealing with the interpretation of his music. Pedagogical aids and recordings form necessary documentation for the analysis of Fran‚àövüaix's intended style. With informed knowledge of flautists, such as dedicatee Jean-Pierre Rampal, and various educational manuscripts of the time, new ideas are explored.Reference is made to performance perspectives and solving technical issues in order to answer the question of how to make this highly virtuosic music sound easy, and create music that pleases audience and performers alike. Through exploration of the context and aesthetic aims of his flute compositions, this original contribution restores to the flute repertory the quality compositions of Jean Fran‚àövüaix.


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