I’ve been doing a lot of flute listening lately, and in doing so I ran across this wonderful flute sonata by Mel Bonis (Sonata in C sharp minor, opus 64). It made such an impression on me that it’s kind of taken over my musical world. I hear it in my head all the time now and have really fallen in love with it.
The sonata was composed in 1904, but it’s really atypical for a French composer of the time period. Yes, it’s highly romantic, but then it’s not full of virtuosic mumbo jumbo – virtuosity for its own sake – like so much other music from this time period. Instead, the piece is much more restrained, and the composer seems more interested in showing off the sensitive, lyrical side of the flute. The themes are all very beautiful and expressive. Generally they’re presented simply at first, and then developed as each movement progresses. Even though the sonata’s in C sharp minor, it ends triumphantly in the major key. That strategy often sounds wrong to me, but it really works beautifully here.
I purchased it and am waiting for it to arrive. I hope to be able to master this some day, but until then, William Bennett will have to do. 😉