Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (1934)

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)

Program note written by Jacob Farmer

I. Allegro
II. Andante
III. Allegro scherzando

Approximate Performance Time:
19 minutes

Advanced – appropriate upper college undergraduates and master students

James Galway, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra & Charles Dutoit. Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Sony Music, 2014. MP3.

Source Article:
TIMLIN, FRANCIS EUGENE. “AN ANALYTIC STUDY OF THE FLUTE WORKS OF JACQUES IBERT.” Order No. 8026322 University of Washington, 1980. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.

Jacques Ibert, born 1890 in Paris, spent many years as the director of the French Academy in Rome. His works span a wide range of styles, including operas, ballets, threatre, film scores, and orchestra pieces. The Flute Concerto (1934) is a great example of the composer knowing the technical limitations and capabilities of an instrument. He wrote a similar concerto for the saxophone in 1935. Ibert’s passion for film and theatre is shown across his scores, such as his Suite Elisabéthaine for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His orchestral work Divertissement (1930) was also popular at the time. His chamber pieces were written for flute, violin, guitar, harpsichord, harp, and piano, most notably Entracte for flute and violin. He died in Paris in 1962. 

Piece Information:
Jacques Ibert’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra is one of the most frequently performed concertos in the flute repertoire. The work is dedicated to Marcel Moyse. He premiered it on February 25th, 1934 with the Sociéte des Concerts du Conservatoire with Philippe Gaubert conducting. The first movement starts off with a pointed, staccato melody embedded with syncopations and meter changes. The orchestra under the soloist is equally as agitated sounding, increasing in intensity throughout the movement. The second movement brings back the lyrical theme of the first in the orchestra with a light, floating line in the flute. This movement ends with the original theme climaxing, diminishing into a calm tranquil mood. The Allegro Scherzando follows a type of rondo format. The movement is being constantly driven forward with the triple figures in the flute part. The main theme comes back leading into a flute cadenza. The end of the cadenza quickly transitions into a reprise of the first movement ending the piece hurriedly but in a satisfying way.