North Bridge Flute Academy


North Bridge Masterclass
Fauré – Berceuse
Oginski – Polonaise
Fauré – Sicilienne
Telemann – Sonata in F
Marais – Le Basque
Quantz – Sonata in E minor – Vivace
Delibes – Morceau de Concours


Telemann Air a l'Italien
Donjon – Pan
Fauré – Morceau de Concours
Hoffmeister – Sonata in G – 1st Mvt, Allegro Assai
Gaubert – Madrigal
Rabboni - Sonata (No. 3) in E
CPE Bach - Allegro from Sonata in E Minor
Rabboni – Sonata (No. 8) in C
Gossec – Tambourin


Rabboni – Sonata (No. 7) in F
Roussel – Mr. de la Pejaudie


Roussel – Pan



GRADE 6, Lesson #3
Performance Video: Faure - Morceau de Concours

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GRADE 6, Lesson #3
Teaching Notes Video: Faure - Morceau de Concours

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GABRIEL FAURÉ (1845-1924) is one of the most highly considered and respected of French composers. Bridging the gap between Romantic and Impressionist periods of music, his refined and gentle compositions contain a unique expressive style, that over the years has steadily garnered universal appeal.

Fauré studied piano with Camille Saint-Saens, a life-long friend and in 1871 was appointed as the choirmaster at the Église Saint-Sulpice, in Paris, where Widor was the organist. In the same year, he was also a founding member of the Société Nationale de Musique, created to promote new French compositions.

A prolific composer of songs, in 1896 Fauré was appointed as professor of composition at the Paris Conservatoire, where in 1905, after a scandal concerning Ravel’s compositions, he succeeded Theodore Dubois as the director. Fauré was there until ill health (he was a committed smoker!) forced him to step down in 1920. Among his students were Maurice Ravel, Georges Enescu and Nadia Boulanger.

Although without an opus number, the Morceau de Concours was written on July 14th (Bastille Day) 1898, the same year in which Fauré also composed the well-known Fantaisie Op. 79 for flute and piano. Highlighting the importance of melody and harmony, in writing both these compositions, Fauré was quietly expressing his contempt for the current vogue at the Conservatoire of flashy and virtuosic technical pieces, with little in the way of substance.


If we are to do justice to this beautiful piece of music, then we are going to need to make sure that we breathe correctly.

A volume of air isn’t just necessary here because the phrases are long. Every single note, be it fast or slow in passing, is of importance and a good quantity of air running through the flute, throughout the few minutes that it takes to play the piece, will contribute towards us playing with character, shape and expression.

To this extent, as soon as you hear the first of the three piano chords that start the piece, you should be breathing slowly and deeply, in anticipation of your entry in bar two. If you have that good quantity of air, you will have a voice and be able to tell a story. If you don’t breathe properly, you will merely be playing notes, which ultimately will be of little interest to those listening.

We don’t want to start with a bump, so try to articulate the first A in bar two, by gently popping the tip of the tongue backwards, between the lips and in the centre of the mouth. This might take a little bit of practice, but it is quite similar to gently spitting out a grape seed. That gentle popping should be no more active than the sound of a tap slowly dripping into a bucket of water. When a ‘quiet’ entrance is required and in particular in a slow melody such as the one here, this is my preferred method of starting that all important first phrase. It helps to set the scene.

Even though this is a slow piece, there is a lot of black ink on the paper, which invariably fills us with fear. When panic sets in, a tendency to rush forward surfaces. Maintaining a steady and constant pace is essential throughout this work, if we are to preserve its natural beauty. If for any reason we start to push forwards, then any overall calm that has already been established within the piece, will be lost, never to be retrieved.

In general, the more black lines or bars we see connecting notes, the more essential it is to focus on holding back, rather than falling forward. Therefore, in bar three, without getting behind the overall pulse, try to hang on to the twelve demi-semiquavers (32nd notes) as much as possible. These notes crave to be hugged individually!

The same applies throughout the arpeggio in bar nine and the long run of thirty two notes from the third beat of bar twelve, to the first beat of bar fourteen.

In bar two, there is a leap of a fifth, up to the second beat of the bar. Make sure that you are supporting your air well enough between these notes. There is a significant danger that the C on the second beat will be flat without that attention to support.

Accents are marked in bars six, seven and twelve and these are what I refer to as romantic leanings. A harsh Bartok like attack here would be utterly inappropriate. In music from this period, accents should be much less aggressive and there should be an element of yearning attached to each one. Notes underneath these accents need to be gripped passionately, rather than assaulted or mugged!

From bar sixteen, the melody returns and is repeated. It cannot be as simple and straightforward as this though, as there really is little point in playing exactly the same thing twice. The dynamic marking is softer on the reprise and as such, the way we communicate to our audience needs to be that much more intimate and involving.

On the stage, we are actors and it is our job to draw in those listening to us. As with a good book, if there is a convincing story line, then it becomes easier for us to engage with the narrative.

As we are playing more quietly now, the texture of our sound should be equally fragile.

This time, the notes beneath tenuto markings in bars twenty, twenty one and twenty six should be perfumed and nothing short of magical and more like sighs of happiness.

In the coda, starting from the upbeat to bar thirty, try to play with a simple, almost prayer like or ecclesiastical manner.

Any slowing down towards the final note should be more of a mild thought than a planned pull-up.

Hang onto the last top F for as long as possible, at the same time allowing it to steadily disappear into silence.

At the end, stand still, until people start clapping. There can be incredible drama and poise in absolute silence combined with total stillness.

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