It’s rare that I omit Debussy’s Syrinx from my classical flute recitals. The piece is so definitional for all flute-players, and helps to define the importance of the instrument as the oldest known to man.
Flute excerpts Syrinx
Syrinx is considered the first piece of classical music to begin with a musical question rather than a statement. Take Mozart’s Eine Kleine Knacht Musik,which opens with a definite exposition. The opening few bars of Syrinx, on the other hand, form a haunting, improvisatory musical question, which is then answered with more strength and developed throughout the piece. The genius of Debussy is that he makes the listener believe the piece is improvised, however this is not the case.
I agree with my flute teacher, Alan Marion, that flute students and flute players should take particular heed to study the score in great detail and follow EXACTLY the directions specified by Debussy.
1. Count the number or dynamic markings in the first 8 bars.
2. Note the dynamic markings in the lower register page 2 bars 15-19
3. Note the piece was NOT written to be played rubato throughout
4. Debussy specifies in bar 16 that rubato is allowed.
5. Bar 26 Debussy marks the end of the rubato with the direction au Mouvt (très modéré)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4duaiXqePE)Full performance of Debussy Syrinx (An Australian in Paris) Jane Rutter
Gods of the flute are found all around the world. Their corresponding myths echo the story of Pan.Pan has various manifestations: (Kokopelli, Krishna & others)
Debussy wrote this piece as incidental music tothe play Psyché
The most popular myth (from Ovid metamorphosis) to inspire flute players & flute students in performance of Syrinx, is the story of Pan’s creation of the flute (panpipe). Pan, the demi-god of nature and bacchanalian revels, is well known for seducing the nymphs of ancient Greek lakes and rivers. He was a hypnotic master who chased Syinx the Water Nymph through the Woods of Arcadia metamorphosed her into the Pan-pipes!Flute students: Imagine you are in nature- there is no industry, there has never been heard the sound of a flute and now this!