Do you want to learn more Baroque flute music? You should consider some standard parts of the repertoire.
There are more Baroque pieces than you may expect. Fortunately, that means you can learn music that you enjoy.
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Bach Partita in A Minor
The Partita in A Minor is a stable of the Baroque flute repertoire. It’s an unaccompanied piece, so you don’t have to worry about other musicians. That makes it a great choice for a solo recital.
However, you can also use it to practice on your own, even without a scheduled performance. That way, you can learn about Baroque style and apply it to a real piece of music.
But this piece is quite difficult, so it’s best for advanced players. I played this piece on my junior recital, and even my non-musician friends could tell it was a doozy.
J.S. Bach also wrote multiple sonatas for flute with continuo or keyboard. The nice thing about the sonatas is that they range in difficulty. If you want an easier one, the Sonata in Eb is great.
However, the Sonata in B Minor is more challenging. Be careful when playing the Sonata in A Major, though. I played it on one of my graduate recitals, and different editions have different sections.
Part of the manuscript for that sonata was lost. So editors have come up with their own versions. Make sure to buy an urtext edition, which will follow Baroque style and performance practice much better.
Depending on the publisher, you may need to buy Volume 1 and Volume 2 to get all of the sonatas. If you like Henle editions and have an iPad, you can also buy the individual sheet music through there.
Bon di Venezia Sonatas
One lesser-known Baroque composer was Ana Bon di Venezia. I first learned about her during grad school when we went over her flute sonatas. Bon wrote six sonatas in all, and they’re very nice pieces.
You can play them with a keyboard or even a continuo player, like a cellist. The pieces are a great addition to a recital program. I believe the NFA used one of these sonatas as a competition repertoire requirement.
Either way, if you want to add more music by women to your life, give these sonatas a try. You can also share them with your students if you teach private flute lessons.
Handel was another excellent Baroque composer, and he wrote 11 Sonatas for the flute. The different sonatas are great for students of various levels. I believe one of them is in a rotation for Kansas high school all-state (my home state).
You can start by learning one and eventually learn the others. If you’re a teacher, you could even have a Handel-themed recital. Give one sonata to each of your students to play.
These pieces are great, and like other sonatas, you can learn one movement or the whole work. While I haven’t played any of these sonatas, they’re on my list of music to learn.
Telemann 12 Fantasias
The Telemann 12 Fantasias are a set of unaccompanied flute solos. I’ve played a few of them and started learning them in college. They made for great additions to solo or studio recitals.
Another great thing about these fantasias is that they work very well on the piccolo. So if you want to learn that instrument, you can use music you may already know or be learning on the flute.
Or maybe you despise the piccolo. You should still learn at least one of the Telemann fantasias at some point. Then, you’ll have a piece that you can use whenever you get to perform alone.
Telemann Suite in A Minor
If you prefer playing with a pianist, you may want to learn the Telemann Suite in A Minor. Like the Handel sonatas, this piece is on rotation for high school flute students in Kansas.
Since I went to a private high school in Missouri, I didn’t learn any of this piece until college. Specifically, students get to learn the Air L’Italien movement. It’s a fun piece, and you can learn part or all of it.
If you like other works by Telemann, you may like this piece. Even if you haven’t explored Telemann’s music, give this piece a try. It’s a good choice for students, adults, and anyone in between.
Telemann Sonata in F Major
The Telemann Sonata in F Major is another fantastic work from the composer. It has multiple movements like any sonata, so you can learn one or all of the movements.
I first heard this piece when one of my studio-mates played it during my master’s program. It’s a nice piece, and the second movement offers a good chance for you to improvise.
Classical music doesn’t have much of that, but Baroque flute pieces are an exception. In that period, musicians would improvise, usually on the repeats, especially in slow movements.
Vivaldi Il Gardellino
Another excellent Baroque piece is Vivaldi Il Gardellino, which is his Concerto in D. The piece is about a bird, so you get to emulate that animal throughout the work.
It’s a good piece for an advancing student or anyone entering a concerto competition. However, you can also play it on a recital or simply learn the flute part for your own enjoyment.
While I haven’t played the piece, it’s fun to listen to. If you want to expand your Baroque flute repertoire, you should learn this one.
Vivaldi Piccolo Concertos
The Vivaldi Piccolo Concertos are all great, and yes, there are multiple. He wrote three concertos, originally for the sopranino recorder. However, piccolo players have taken over those pieces.
Two are in C major, and one is in A minor, and the C major RV 443 has become the most popular. I played that concerto on my junior recital and played the other C major concerto in grad school.
Now, these pieces are a bit more technical, so they aren’t the best for piccolo players. However, they remain some of the best piccolo concertos, even as more modern composers have added to that list.
The Best Baroque Flute Music
When expanding your repertoire, it’s good to learn music from all eras. The Baroque flute repertoire offers something for everyone.
Whether you’re a student, want to learn piccolo, or need a big concerto, you can find something to meet your needs. And if you want to learn the Bach Partita, check out the Partita Practice Guide to help you learn the piece.