The sonata is in three movements:
- Allegretto malincolico - This movement starts in 2/4 and with the characteristic four semiquaver run in the flute part, which is repeated throughout the piece. It contains double tounging, and some tricky fingerwork in places. It also features Poulenc's trademark motif in the middle section, and ends queitly, leading into the second, slower movement. This movement has an equivalent standard to an ABRSM grade 8 piece, and, at the time of writing, is included in the listed pieces for this grade.
- Cantilena: Assez lent - This movement is much slower and quieter. It begins with two quavers on the piano, which are echoed by the flute during the course of the next two bars. The haunting tune features minimal decoration, and is accompanied by flowing quavers on the piano. In the middle of the piece, the atmosphere suddenely changes to loud high notes on the flute, reaching a top B, and is difficult to keep in tune. However soon after it returns to the original slow tune. This movement has an equivalent standard to an ABRSM grade 7 piece, and, at the time of writing, is included in the listed pieces for this grade
- Presto giocoso - This movement is by far the hardest and loudest out of the three. It features many high up runs on the flute, which are very difficult to master. Generally the piece is loud and fast, apart from the hslf speed section towards the end, where Poulenc motif appears again, and creates a nice contrast with the rest of the piece. At the closing note of the movement, Poulenc instructs to strictly keep in time, and although the temptation is to hold the note on for longer, doing this detracts from the finality of the end.
The whole sonata appears in the listings for many flute diplomas, including ABRSM and Trinity Guidhall, and this is testament to the great composer's work.
Read more about this topic: Flute Sonata (Poulenc)
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