Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Excellent biography of an enigmatic characterSept. 9 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
Was Moyse one of the greatest flutists of all time? I don't think so. Although an inspiring and brilliant pedagogue, an essential author of dozens of great studies, comparing his playing to Gaubert or Hennebains is depressing. He just wasn't that great. It's a similar situation with the illustrious William Kincaid, who I feel was overshadowed by his pupils, especially Baker and Mariano.
Anyway, McKutcheon does a beautiful job with this biography. It is engrossing and marvelously written. It's up there with Nancy Toff's bio of Barrere. A must read for serious flutists, even if you are as sacrilegious as I am!
The French school of flute playing.Nov. 12 2005
- Published on Amazon.com
The most respected and certainly one of most famous of schools for classical music study is the Paris Conservatoire, which was founded in 1795. For flute players who want to study classical flute, there is no better place in the world today. The history is remarkable. Some of the greatest flutist of the 20th century are a product of this venerable institution. There is a tradition there that has been in place since the very beginning. All the flute professors at the Conservatoire have been a student of a former professor. So there is a ‘French school’ of flute playing. You can tell in the sound and more in the articulation. Many people say the articulation of a French flutist is due to the French language vowel sounds, but many people dispute this- all the non-speaking French.
Ann McCutchan, a very accomplished writer and musician has written about the life of one of the most famous flutist of all time, Marcel Moyse. Marcel Moyse was there at perhaps the, “richest artistic periods in France”. He was born in 1889, eleven days after the Paris Exposition opened. This was the year that the Eiffel Tower was officially opened after two years of construction. Marcel Moyse played solo flute in Paris’ major orchestras. He was also one of the ‘Kings’ who ruled the Paris Conservatoire. If you want to know who and in what order the flute professors fell into, this book tells the whole story. Adolphe Hennebains who was the professor to Moyse, was himself a student of Altes. Paul Taffanel was one of the first flute players trained in the new Boehm flute system (modern flute). Marcel Moyse had to win the acceptance of Taffanel to get into the school. I found it very interesting that Marcel Moyse, after watching and hearing George Laurent play one of the etudes by the Danish flutist-composer Joachim Anderson, (actually Opus 15) was so blown away by his playing that he chose Opus 15 to study for his first year as a student. Flute players know how great the Anderson Etudes are especially, Opus 30 and Opus 63.
Any serious flutist has studied out of the book, “The Taffanel-Gaubert Methode Complete de Flute”, which was published in 1923 by Alphonse Leduc and Company. This is the bible for the instrument and covers everything you need to know. I also found very interesting that Paul Taffanel had died before it was published but his number one student, Philippe Gaubert was asked to finish the text and edit it. Philippe Gaubert was also the composer of , “Nocturne et Allegro”, a beautiful exam piece. The finest recorded version of this is Catherine Ransom Karolys’ new version on her cd 'French Inspirations'.
I also found it interesting that Marcel Moyse blew out of the side of his mouth and Hennbains was wise enough not to change him. The great Jean-Pierre Rampal who was a student of Marcel Moyse also blew out of the side of his mouth too, (and so does the Russian Denis Bouriakov, the greatest flute player to ever live) That goes to show you. Marcel had a very long and wonderful life inspiring an entire generation of flute players. There are some lovely recordings of him too. There are also recordings of Paul Taffanel and Philippe Gaubert and they all played unbelievably. Thanks to Ann McCutchan for giving us this story of a great man who gave his entire life to the art of music, teaching and the mastery of the flute. Someday I hope I can go to France to visit the mountain village of St. Amour in the Jura region where Marcel Moyse was born and see the red tile roofs and Eglise St Amour’s gleaming , onion-shaped dome and maybe try to hear the sound of a flute in the breeze. It’s a beautiful book and a must read for all students of the flute.