Paul Taffanel

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Extract from Paul Taffanel and the Construction of the French Flute School by Dorothy Glick. It was Paul Taffanel’s vast and intricate involvement in all aspects of the French musical world that resulted in his being considered the “Father of the French Flute School”. From his work as the premier flautist on all of Paris’ major orchestra’s and, later, as the chief conductor, to his work as a teacher and Professor at the Paris Conservatoire. Taffanel’s appreciation and avocation of both old wind repertoire and contemporary works lead to the acceptance of many new pieces to be accepted by the Paris Conservatoire. Beginning in 1897, the Paris Conservatoire began, under the encouragement of Taffanel, commissioning pieces of repertoire that expanded…show more content…
Taffanel believed that the ideal tone was created through “purity of line, charm, deep feeling and heartfelt sincerity”, by the flautist, to convey the true meaning and depth of the piece. When regarding vibrato, while it was subservient to the use of tone in a performance, had to be as natural and complementary to the piece as possible, instead of forced upon the piece or predetermined by the musician. By encouraging one-on-one lessons and personalised teaching with his students Taffanel also improved the quality of teaching methods inside the Paris Conservatory, a method in which most flute lessons are taught in today. In the French Flute School lessons were given in the form of a group class, this meant that students could be exposed to more pieces and styles than ever before. The value of watching and learning from others only increased the skills and quality of the students leaving the Conservatoire. Paul Taffanel was also widely recognised as a composer and arranged pieces such as Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber. Paul Taffanel died in 1908, leaving behind the well-established modern French Flute School. Taffanel’s teaching is still in use today, with his emphasis on the quality of sound and technique. His students furthered his work throughout the world and as a result the French style of playing, perfected by Taffanel himself, is the most widely accepted and taught way of playing the flute. His true legacy can be seen in the quality and variety of the compositions dedicated to him, including Fauré’s Fantasia, the Widor Suite and Enescu’s
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