Flute Concerto

Jacques Ibert

Flute Concerto

About this work

"In my concertos I have allotted the instruments the types of themes which correspond to their particular tone qualities and respect their expressive possibilities." This statement of Jacques Ibert's certainly applies to his Flute Concerto, written over the years 1932-1933. The work was dedicated to Marcel Moyse, who was the featured soloist in its premiere performance, under Philippe Gaubert's direction, in Paris on February 25, 1934. Both Moyse and Gaubert, incidentally, were students of the great French flutist and teacher Paul Taffanel, for whom many of the greatest French flute works were written.

Ibert's Concerto was dedicated to Moyse, who didn't play it often. In fact, the work lay neglected for many years due to its perceived difficulty. The opening Allegro is based on a perky first theme with a neoclassical shape, and a slower, more languorous second theme. Throughout, the flute is kept constantly busy. A sweet, lyrical Andante follows, the flute's long-breathed song accompanied by gentle strings. The longest of the work's three movements is the last, a jazzy Allegro scherzando with a virtuoso solo cadenza; this Finale is such a challenge for flutists that it became a test piece at the Paris Conservatoire.