C.P.E. and the Transverse Flute

Today’s shaping up to be a data-mining/data-compiling/mail-merging kind’o’day. In other words, an “I Must Listen To Music Or I Shall Run Mad” sort of day. Luckily, there’s an Internet for that.

Here. This should get your toes a-tappin’:

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That, as you doubtless instantly recognized, is the great-(if overshadowed just a touch by his dad)-C.P.E. Bach’s G Major Concerto “a flauto traverso obligato…” Or, in English, his Concerto for Transverse Flute. In G Major. And it’s great stuff. I should be able to plow through a veritable torrent of data with this baby in my earbuds. (Especially the finale. I love a good Allegro Assai as much as the next guy. And this is definitely a good one; great, even.)

What’s that, you say? You NEVER listen to just one transverse flute concerto at a time? Only flauto traverso obligato concerti?

Perfectly understandable. I’m the same way, myself. And no worries:

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I’m not entirely clear on the distinction between a “regular” flute and the “Transverse” myself, especially since it seems to mostly mean “Not a Recorder.” Oh, and “Not One of These, Either.” In some places, it’s called a “Cross Flute,” which indicates its most distinctive feature: It’s played sideways …Or should I say”cross-wise?” In other words, a regular flute. (Don’t even get me started on The Boehm System Flute. We’ll be here all day.)

Also, just for the heck of it, here’s a sorta-portrait of C.P.E. Bach, painted by Adolph Menzel. In it, CPE is seen at the keyboard, accompanying Frederick the Great during a performance of a concerto for…wait for it…transverse flute.

About Joseph Susanka

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. A grateful resident of Wyoming, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (currently) seven sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix.


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