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by Albert Roussel

Eileen Gilligan & Alex Raineri – Joueurs de Flute – Tityre

Tityre is the second movement of the Jouers de flute( the flute players) by Albert Roussel. Each one of the four movements is dedicated to a prominent French School flute player of the time. This one is dedicated to Gaston Blanquart. Gaston was a student of Taffanel and prominent soloist and orchestral player at the time.

Here is a link to a bio of him.


Gaston Blanquart – Wikipedia



This chance at telling a story is over in a little over minute depending on how fast the player chooses to play it.

The background behind these four pieces is they are all titled and based on either mythology or poetry.

Tityre is the good shepherd from Virgils Ecologues: He plays on a slender pipe. For insight look at number 1 on link below.


Virgil (70 BC–19 BC) – The Eclogues

Virgil – The Eclogues. A new downloadable translation


As always, I recommend arming yourself with as much background knowledge as possible before leaping into interpreting a piece. Always keep in mind the focus of the French School of flute playing and what it aimed and stood for. Look no further than Moyse for this. This means tone and colour are at the forefront of what one needs to think about as well.

Because these pieces are titled , the player needs to have a story to tell the audience. What does Tityre mean to them and how does the French School fit into interpreting this piece.

For me I am always conscious that in true Roussel style the piano part is a composition in its own right in each one of them and this one is no different. Grab the score and look deeply at what is going on in it and your interaction with the piano. The synergy you have with the pianist can change everything.

Look at the form so it’s a basic ABA and one can perform it as such or look at the story that could be told. I feel it’s a dance of two rustic characters intertwining with a wonderful romantic interlude in the middle that is lyrical and warm before bouncing back to quick sprint and dance into the night. Whoosh!!!!! It’s over. It doesn’t matter what story you tell if there is a vision, I feel it will come across to the audience and give the performance more conviction.

I am always conscious of tone and love to listen to some of the old recordings of the French School players for inspiration.

https://youtu.be/ZwaNaZK7jRQ Rene le Roy , Danse de la Chevre- Honegger. Interesting to listen to his articulations here in relationship to Tityre.

https://youtu.be/0JQPOiVL06U Rene le Roy , Allegro Moderato- J.S. Bach .Just beautiful . We are so lucky to have these recordings so we don’t lose sight of what they have to offer us.

https://youtu.be/wnCmQ8r078U  Moyse playing Woodall Serenade. I don’t think there is a better example French School and tone than this lovely recording, except maybe his Evening Primrose which equally beautiful.

Here is a  link to Moyse playing number 15 Melodious Study. I adore this one and his way of introducing key colour , tone, musical line, expression and articulations is awesome. This one is to be treasured. Very relevant to Tityre.


1-12 24 Small Meldodic Studies.15.m4a

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So once armed with all this knowledge and tone off we go and start Tityre. It is just lots of slow sequential practice and looking for opportunity to contrast colours.


As always flexibility, harmonics, melodious studies and tone development play an enormous role in making this easier for the player.

I was practising the other day and said to my hubby ” you know it takes me three hours before I even get to a piece” of all the things I mentioned above. I find that the practice time is cut down markedly on the pieces if the ground work is solid.

I hope you enjoy this quick but powerful little piece.