Composer Snapshot: Claude-Paul Taffanel

March 14, 2015

As professor of flute at the Paris Conservatoire from 1893 until his death in 1908, French flutist and conductor Claude-Paul Taffanel was the founder of the French Flute School. The French Flute School, which was characterized by lightness of tone and vibrato, played an integral role in much of flute compositional and performance practices of the mid 20th century. Over a period of years, Taffanel built a considerable career as both a soloist and an orchestral player and is well known as the leading flutist of his time. His work served to reestablish the flute in mainstream music, using his eloquence of tone and sensitivity of musicianship to prove the instrument capable of expressive profundity.


Andante Pastoral & Scherzettino, Fantasie on "Der Freischutz," and Grand Fantaisie on Mignon are a few of his compositions that remain staples in the flute literature today. Taffanel is likely most well known for his method book 17 Daily Exercises for flute, which was completed by his student Philippe Gaubert following Taffanel's death.


CALL TO ACTION: Find a recording of one of Taffanel's works and listen to it a few times. What do you like or dislike about the compositional style used? What composer's come to mind when listening to Taffanel's composition? 

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