Koncert for fløjte og orkester

Herman D. Koppel
Flute solo +
Solo(s) + Symphony orchestra
B4, 106 pages

Koppel wrote solo concertos for piano, violin, clarinet, cello, oboe, bassoon and flute as well as a double concerto for violin and viola and a triple concerto for violin, viola and cello. In fact the concertos make up half of his orchestral output. Common to the works is the fact that they were written for – and inspired by – particular soloists that Koppel knew well as musicians and people. 

The Flute Concerto from 1971 was written for the flautist Poul Birkelund, who at that time was also the principal of the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen. By this time modern music had deve­loped to extremes. Koppel’s music too was constantly developing, but he refused to make a complete break with the traditions as the younger composers did. “It was a busy and searching period when Herman tried to see how far he could go,” Poul Birkelund recalled many years later. “He jumped on the bandwagon but kept his personal distinctiveness.” 

The orchestra in the Flute Concerto has been reduced to two oboes, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, two horns, celesta, piano, percussion and strings. 

As in other works by Koppel, the music begins with a seed, but in this questing work the seed is so restless that the music is not allowed to get firm ground under its feet. The woodwinds accompany with mysterious syncopes, and a cello and the violins offer remarks and questions. Towards the end of the movement the elements are gathered up into a recapitulation, and the flute plays a characterful solo cadenza with the clarinet as opponent. The movement ends in agitation without any kind of clarification. 

The second and third movement are continuous. The short second movement functions as a kind of prelude where the flute presents its flighty side and refuses to enter into a dialogue. Not until the third movement does it accept interaction with the other instruments, and they meet in a flirtatious, dancing final movement. The fruitful encounter is ruined, however, by the fundamental differences in temperament. At the very end the flute manages to declare its freedom and independence – as at the beginning of the concerto. 

The humour and leaping melody of the Flute Concerto give new dimensions to its form as a virtuoso solo concerto. This questing work was made with a master’s hand and combines technical experiment with a talent for musical character-drawing that comes close to satire.


Also exists also in a flute and piano version (cat.no. C.0305)

OTHER WORKS BY Herman D. Koppel



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