While not as ubiquitous as flute method books, audition collections tend to look rather suddenly into focus at certain points in the flutist’s career, and there are a number of quality products on the market. One of the most clear and thorough is The Flute Audition by German flutist Henrik Wiese, published by Universal Editions.
What caught my eye, however, is his companion volume, The Piccolo Audition, particularly because upon closer inspection it turns out to be The Piccolo and Alto Flute Audition. By virtue of my own bias (I play alto flute) I am interested in anything that expands the low flute repertoire.
Before coming to that, we should consider the piccolo selections. Before even that, we should comment that the presentation of all the material in this volume is of the highest order, beautifully printed, elegantly bound, supported by valuable commentary where needed, accurately translated into English and French from the original, and almost entirely without awkward page turns. A credit to Universal Edition.
So, the choice of book should depend upon the selections included and Herr Wiesse is careful to state his methodology. Drawing upon earlier such editions, current lists of required pieces from audition invitations and orchestra websites, he has selected, and carefully edited, a series of selections which covers ground from Mozart to Bartók via Beethoven, Brahms, Puccini and Shostakovitch — orchestral and operatic. There will be debates about the best choice but, of course, these selections can be supplemented if your audition invitation lists other items. Perhaps two or three of these books will be needed, but this one, endorsed by Emmanuel Pahud, should definitely be among them,
While the piccolo selections cover the history of orchestral music, 180 selections and 65 pages, the alto flute selections are limited to three composers/selections and seven pages. This is, of course, a reflection of the low usage of low flutes in the orchestral repertoire rather than any omission on Herr Wiese‘s part. The items included are:
Alto flutists will doubtless be familiar with these selections. The question is, are there any more? And, as a side issue, do orchestras still send for specialists to play low flutes and eschew doubling?
This is a topic for another day. Meanwhile, if your circumstances call for a book of this nature you could not do better than this volume. And, while I have no aspirations towards a seat in any orchestra, I will certainly enjoy playing these very specialised selections.
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