As a flute teacher with over 14 years experience I have spend hours finding good flute solos for intermediate players that I teach.
Finding solos when you first start learning an instrument can be quite tricky. You don’t feel quite ready for the more advanced repertoire but nor do you want to be limited to the beginner pieces in your tutor books. Here I will review some of my favorite flute solos for the intermediate player!
It is extremely important to find pieces that are in accessible ranges and keys for your individual playing, so make sure before purchasing any of the pieces that you have studied the notes within it. In this post I have considered intermediate level to be around the ABRSM Grades 5-8.
Below are some of my favorites and although are not easy will challenge you and raise your level of performance. I have also included some links to the sheet music so you can build your sheet music collection. Many of these pieces are well worth purchasing as although I am suggesting them as pieces for the intermediate flutist they will serve you right through to advanced – you will just get better at playing them! You can also see a few of these pieces for free online particularly on www.flutetunes.com.
A really great place to start for this level is with pieces by Handel, Telemann and Quantz. J.S. Bach is another great option but in my opinion his music can be a little harder to learn and it may be better to start with other composers from this period of music.
The top 15 intermediate flute solos
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer. Handel wrote a great many operas, oratorios, cantatas, trios, duets and more. His most famous work is perhaps his hallelujah chorus from the oratorio messiah.
However, there are eleven flute sonatas attributed to Handel, all of which are a lovely place to start for the intermediate flute player. These sonatas are attributed to Handel as there is great confusion over how many he actually wrote specifically for the flute and how many were written for other instruments and transcribed.
However, this should not stop us playing these eleven beautiful sonatas. A lovely one to start with is the Sonata in B minor, op.1 No.9 HWV 367b.
Georg Philipp Telemann
Telemann is another great German baroque composer and many of his flute compositions are also an excellent place to start when looking for good flutes soles for intermediate players.
Telemann wrote a huge amount of music but for the intermediate flute player, one of the best places to start is the 12 Fantasias. Music for unaccompanied melodic instruments was fairly rare during the baroque period and so these fantasias for solo flute are a wonderful addition to the repertoire. These fantasias were published no later than 1732, a few years before Telemann wrote his solo violin fantasias.
I would recommend that the best place to start with these is at the beginning with Fantasia no.1 in A, TWV 40:2.
There are also some wonderful flute sonatas by Telemann you can try out such as the Telemann flute sonata in C, TWV 41:C2.
Johann Joachim Quantz
Quantz is another composer who has written many pieces for flute players. Quantz himself was a flute player and maker so his music is carefully crafted for us. Quantz actually wrote around 300 flute concertos, more than 40 trio sonatas, 200 flute sonatas, flute solos, flute duets, flute trios and even some vocal music!
Quantz was a flute teacher and so his music reflects this, giving a large range of music for different levels. In most of his flute sonatas, Quantz follows a slow-fast-slow sequence. A lovely place to start are with these flute sonatas. Take a look at his Sonata No.272 in F. You can buy the flute sonatas as part of a two part volume.
The above composers are mostly from the Baroque period of music. We do have some lovely examples of Classical Music for the intermediate flute player.
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach – Hamburger Sonata
C.P.E Bach’s Hamburger Sonata is one of his most well known flute sonatas.
This piece has only two movements, Allegretto and Rondo-Presto.
Although this piece does have some difficult passages it is more than accessible for the intermediate player. Like with all of these pieces, they are all appropriate for the advanced players as well but remember, learning the flute is a journey and even if you learn these pieces now you can visit them again later!
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Andante in C
Of course, how could we write this list without including a piece by Mozart.
The Mozart Andante in C is relatively short in comparison to the very well known concertos. The Andante speed and C major key make it a great choice for the intermediate flute player.
All of the above composers are baroque or classical but as you know, the flute is very well known for being a French instrument! Here are some wonderful pieces to check out:
Gabriel Fauré – Pavane
Fauré wrote his pavane op.50 in the summer of 1887. The piece is relatively short with a moderato tempo. It is written in the key of F# minor with the highest note being the third octave F sharp which makes the entire composition very accessible for the intermediate player.
Philippe Gaubert – Sicilienne
Gaubert Sicilienne is another great choice for the intermediate player. Gaubert was professor of flute at the Paris Conservatoire and wrote this piece to help develop his students. The piece includes semiquaver passages, a reasonably wide range, chromatic notes, changing time signatures, lots of dynamics and some challenging rhythms. A great choice if you would like to develop your playing and musicality.
Francis Poulenc – Sonata for flute and piano
The Poulenc sonata is another great choice. This work has three movements and was written in 1957. This sonata is one of the most frequently played in the flute classical repertoire and is an excellent piece to add to your repertoire.
As an intermediate player I would recommend learning the second movement first, then visit the first movement before tackling the final movement!
Jules Mouquet – La Flute de Pan Op.15
Mouquet wrote this gorgeous piece in the early 20th century. This piece has impressionism influences and you can see this by the subject matter. The sonata presents the performer with three scenarios: Pan and the shepherds, Pan and the birds and pan and the nymphs. This is a light and beautiful piece that will certainly give you a challenge!
I would recommend starting with the first movement as this is very accessible for the intermediate player. The scalic patterns and overall F major key make it more than suitable!
Frédéric Chopin – Variations on a theme by Rossini
This piece is a set of variations on a theme from a popular aria by Rossini. Each of the four variations is a more elaborately decorated version of the original theme. This is a wonderful piece that has something for everyone, although the variations do get decidedly harder as you progress through the piece it is a great piece for the intermediate player. Master the theme of the piece first and as they gradually get harder you can start from beginning to end!
François-Joseph Gossec – Tambourin
This is a very famous piece attributed to Gossec, I actually believe it sounds a lot harder that it actually is. The ending fast section, last four lines, does require an understanding of double tonguing if you are to play the piece at the intended tempo. However, this will take practice so why not start now?
The flutes repertoire does not just stop at French composer we do have some wonderful German composers that wrote sheet music for us!
Christoph Willibald Gluck – Dance of the blessed spirits
One of my favorites is Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits. This piece is written in a simple ternary form with the first section being slow and stately. It sounds very tranquil. The second section contrasts as it features an element of anguish. This piece is not too long and is another great piece of music for any intermediate player.
Paul Hindemith – Sonata for flute and piano
This piece is a very standard piece of repertoire for any flutist. It is a three movement work with a march at the end that almost gives the illusion of a fourth movement. I would start by learning the first movement. Ensure you listen to lots of recordings to really understand the composers intentions. This piece will stay with you throughout your flute journey.
modern Flute pieces:
Ian Clarke – Sun streams and Sunday Mornings
Ian clarke is a great composer to be introduced to, he has actually released a lot of sheet music but for the intermediate player. Ian Clarke being a flutist himself is what makes these pieces so special. I would recommend starting with Sunstreams and Sunday mornings with Hypnosis being a close second for the intermediate performer!
John Rutter – Suite Antique
John Rutter’s suite antique is a multi movement work that actually has a variety of suitable movements. A great place to start will be the Prelude, Ostinato and the Aria. Each movement in this piece harks back to a Baroque or Classical style. The piece was written to be played alongside Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.5 and so it is written for the same instrumentation.
There are also some great volumes you could buy that include a collection of pieces. Buying sheet music collections are a great way to play many different works and only having the movements of each piece which are suitable for you!
Some great options are the Rubank Book of flute solos, Solos for flute arranged by Donald Peck and also the Music through time books.
There are of course many other pieces you can play so do not let this list be a definitive guide. These are merely some sheet music suggestions to get you started.
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