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Orchestral Tales: the flute

Editorial Staff

If you take the most famous solos for a given instrument of the orchestra, you’ll find a vivid character emerges — a character with a magical story to tell. That’s the idea behind Orchestral Tales, Season 3 of Paolo Pietropaolo's award-winning Signature Series.

To hear the flute’s tale, click on the Soundcloud play button below. Follow along with the pop-up comments to find out what composition is playing, or scroll down for a complete list.

Read more about the flute’s characteristics below.


Orchestral section:


Patron instrument of:

Dreamers, hippies, fashionistas.

Flute-like fictional characters:

- Liesl von Trapp, from The Sound of Music.
- Anne of Green Gables.

1 flute clip to watch before you die:

Emmanuel Pahud plays Syrinx by Claude Debussy. Instant meditative bliss:

3 immortal flute moments in pop culture:

1. Superstar flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal visits Miss Piggy and the Muppets:

2. The Beatles, "You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away" (flute solo by John Scott).

3. Jethro Tull, "Locomotive Breath" (flute solo by Ian Anderson).

1 reason to play the flute:

It’s the lightest and easiest instrument to carry around.

Famous flutists you should know about:

- Arthur Schopenhauer, the German philosopher.
- Ian Anderson of the rock band Jethro Tull.
- Peter Gabriel.
- Frederick II the Great, King of Prussia.
- Burton Cummings from the Guess Who.
- Moe Koffman.
- India Arie.

Pieces heard in The Flute’s Tale (in order of appearance):

- Tchaikovsky: "Pas de quatre" from Sleeping Beauty
- Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf
- Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, fourth movement
- Grieg: "Morning Mood" from Peer Gynt
- Debussy: "Gigues" from Images pour orchestre
- Ravel: "Pantomime" from Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2
- Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
- Stravinsky: Scene No. 1 from Petrushka
- Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, first movement
- Rimsky-Korsakov: Capriccio Espagnol
- Beethoven: Leonore Overture No. 3
- Walter Piston: The Incredible Flutist
- Rossini: Overture from William Tell
- Fauré: Pavane
- Varèse: Density 21.5
- Debussy: Syrinx
- Ravel : "La flute enchantée" from Shéhérazade
- Tchaikovsky: "Dance of the Mirlitons" from The Nutcracker

Explore more:

The Signature Series