Albert Roussel’s composition "Joueurs de Flûte” is typical of the works to be heard on this recording: French flute music written by French composers for French flautists. Flute virtuosos and the repertoire created for them by the modern French school of flute technique is represented here. Paul Taffanel (1844 -1908) was the man who sparked the prodigious development of the flute repertoire in France on the Boehm instrument. His work was carried on by his outstanding pupil Philippe Gaubert, and he in turn was followed by generations of flautists who have ensured that this tradition has stayed vibrantly alive up to the present day.
The music collected here is testimony of this activity over more than 5 decades. Almost all the works are dedicated to famous flute teachers (Taffanel, Gaubert, Hennebains, Blanquart, Fleury, Moyse); and, with the exception of the piece by Roussel, they were all intended for their pupils, graduates of the Conservatoire National in Paris. Marcel Moyse, for example, won the first prize in 1906 playing the compulsory piece composed by Gaubert ("Nocturne et Allegretto Scherzando”).
This selection, then, concentrates on compositions from the early 20th century: Chaminade, Enesco, Gaubert and Hüe were writing brilliant works at that time, pieces which have continued to hold their own as etudes and even in some cases in the concert repertoire of flautists up to the present day. Their suave melodic lines and attractive virtuosity contrast with Roussel’s "Joueurs de Flûte”. This composition has very idiosyncratic and essentially modern aspects, which are astonishing in view of the fact that Roussel died before all the other composers represented here. Finally, Messiaen added a very original work to the flute repertoire in "Le merle noir”, which is very typical of this innovative composer.
Flautists will find this programme very welcome; it illuminates a part of the repertoire that is rarely heard in the concert halls. Listeners will enjoy the wide expressive range of the flute extended by the development of French instrumental technique: colourful and soft lyricism and light, brilliant virtuosity.
Peter-Lukas Graf was born in 1929. He studied with Andre Jaunet (Zurich) and Marcel Moyse and Roger Cortet (Paris). He was awarded first prize as and received a conductor’s Diploma at the Conservatoire National in Paris. In 1953, he received first prize as at the International Music Contest in Munich; in 1958, the Bablock Prize of the H. Cohan International Music Award, London.
From 1951 until 1957 he was solo flautist in the Winterthur City Orchestra; from 1961 until 1966 opera conductor at the City Theatre in Lucerne. Since 1973 he has taught at the Basel Music Academy, Peter-Lukas Graf performs throughout Europe, South America, Israel, Russia, Australia and Japan.