The Flauto d'Amore was originally made in the Baroque era (c.1700) when wind instruments began to gain more importance.
It was considered to be the most important flute among the concert and fourth flute and the basso traverso. Until recently it has been thought of as obsolete with very little repertoire written for it.
However, based on the research of a British flute player named Kate Walsh, she could show that this is not true as several composers wrote specific repertoire (solo, orchestral and chamber works) for the Flauto d'Amore.
The following repertoire list illustrates this:
Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)/ Various cantata movements Pastorale from Christmas Oratorio possibly Sonata in B minor
Christopher Graupner (1683-1730)/ Seven religious cantatas; two birthday cantatas; Triple concerto for Flauto d'Amore; oboe d'amore and viola d'amore; Solo Flauto d'Amore: Concerto in A. (Uses A d'amore)
George Philip Telemann (1681-1767)
Concerto in A Flauto d'Amore (A) & strings
Johann Melchior Molter (1696-1765)
Concerto for Flauto d'Amore (Ab) and strings
Johann Helmich Roman (1694-1767)
2nd movement of E minor Sinfonia uses two Flauto d'Amore.(A)
Ignaz Jacob Holzbauer (1711-1783)
La Passione di Jesu Christo
Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812)
Notturno in Eb for Flute, Flauto d'Amore,(Ab) two horns in Eb, two violas, cello or bassoon. Notturno in Eb Flauto d'Amore, Horn in Eb and Viola. (Trio)
Joseph Weigl (1766-1846)
Concerto in Eb for Cor Anglais, Flauto d'Amore, (Ab)Trumpet in Eb, Viola d'amore, Glockenspiel, Euphonium, Cembalo, and cello. With echo ensemble: Cor anglais, Flauto d'Amore (Ab), Trumpet and cello.
Fredrich Hartmann Graf (1727-1795)
No title located
Antonio Messina-Rosaryo (?)
Fantasia Diabolica (bass flute, Flauto d'Amore flute/piano)
Giuseppi Richter 18th/19 cent
Quintet for 4 concert flutes and Flauto d'Amore (in Ab)
Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783)
Concerto in F for Flauto d'Amore (Bb) and strings.
Severio Mercadante (1795-1870)
Trio for Flute, Flauto d'Amore and cello in F major Fantasia Concertante for flute, Flauto d'Amore and orchestra
Stephen Dodgson (b.1924)
O Swallow - Flauto d'Amore (A) and piano
Guseppi Verdi (1813-1901)
Sacred Dance from Aida
The original manuscripts for the Graupner are in Darmstadt Library, the Molter is in Karlsruhe and the Hasse is in Stockholm. The Hohhmeister is published by Kunzelmann and the other works are listed but the exact library sources will be given later on.
It seems that Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) used the Flauto d'Amore for its evocative quality as well as for tonal convenience. Bach used the instrument in Cantatas and it is possible that some of his flute sonatas which are played on concert flute were in fact intended for Flauto d'Amore. There is one example where the indication for Flauto d'Amore does clearly appear on a Bach score and that is for two Flauto d'Amore in the orchestral pastoral in part ii of the Christmas Oratorio. There is evidence that he used the Flauto d'Amore and other larger flutes in other works as the range of the part goes below that of the C flute. However, this requires closer research.
The sonority of the Flauto d'Amore was still appreciated in the nineteenth-century; for instance the slow movement of a Caprice de Concert for flute and piano, La sinere Adolf Terschak (1832-1901) carries the following instruction: 'To be played as by a Flauto d'Amore'. Verdi originally scored the Sacred Egyptian Dance in the finale of Act One of Aida for three flauto d'amore.
Pierre Naust built the earliest currently known example of a Flauto d'Amore in c.1700. It is now in the Collection of the Musee de la Musique in Paris. Christopher Addington did extensive research on the instrument, which included taking detailed measurements and playing it, and came to the conclusion that it was the first Flauto d'Amore. Some scholars previously thought it could have been a very low pitch concert flute.
The larger flutes were built to a four joint design, which originated in c1720. The Flauto d'Amore was manufactured throughout Europe and the spread of the instrument was determined to a certain extent by the location of the manufacturers. In many European countries the baroque traverso flute seems to have appeared some years later than the baroque oboe and recorder. Although the new baroque-style instruments were probably invented in France, woodwind makers in other European countries also played an important part.
Materials used to make Flauto d'Amore have included Boxwood, Ivory, Ebony and Silver. Instruments of many different designs survive, ranging from single-keyed models then four-, eight-, eleven- and thirteen-keyed ones, culminating in the Radcliff and the more familiar Boehm-system instruments that many flautists use today.
In a comparison of modern instruments the alto is much more weighted to the lower and middle octaves whereas the modern Flauto d'Amore have the sonority in the lower octaves as well as being able to utilise the third octave fully. The Flauto d'Amore mechanism gives greater technical flexibility than the heavier alto flute action found on most altos.
The dark mysterious quality has always been evident in the Flauto d'Amore. It was the quality of the sound that attracted recitalists to use the instrument to play more melancholy and emotional solos. Players in opera pits also used the instrument for the sound. During the course of an opera they would change to a Flauto d'Amore for particularly poignant solos or aria accompaniments.
The new Flauto d'Amore made by Sankyo is featuring all the well-known qualities of Sankyo's Alto flutes. It has a truly beautiful quality of sound and furthermore, as it is lighter and shorter, even for finger-techniques it is almost like playing on a usual Boehm Flute in C. With its range between the Boehm Flute in C and the Alto Flute, it opens for the new repertoire, including many (even old) pieces written for such an instrument. "To play and own a flauto d'Amore is an enrichment for every flute player", said Mr Andras Adorjan, who gave advices to SANKYO in order to develop this new model.
The first Sankyo prototype was used on a recording in 1995, of the Trio in F major for flute, Flauto d'Amore and cello by Severio Mercadante. It has the following specifications: All sterling silver, soldered tone holes, covered hole with split E-mechanism, diameter of the inside: 20 mm (usual flute 19 mm), total length: 810 mm and weight: 536 gramms.
Composers should be encouraged to write new repertoire and flautists should consider reviving the performance practices of the eighteenth-century to exploit the rich tonal qualities of this vastly under-used instrument, so it can again be heard in concert halls in the twenty-first century.
Kate Walsh is a freelance flautist and teacher living and working in London UK. The flauto d'amore was her special research subject for an MA in performance studies at City University/Guildhall School of Music in London. Kate has played in Mexico, North America, and continental Europe. In addition to her freelance flute and piccolo playing and reaching Kate is hoping to start doing lecture recitals and workshops on the Flauto d'Amore. She has made two CDs "What Katie Did" and "Invocation".
Anyone interested should contact her on +44 20 7588 0195 or Email Rickat@globalnet.co.uk