Instagram Live : Duality in 20th Century French and Bach

The FEU is delighted to host a recital by artist-in-residence Thomaz Tavares on December 8th, 2020. The performance will be livestreamed on Thomaz’s instagram account @thomaz_flute.

“For my concertiste program, I wanted to highlight the immense variety of repertoire that the french flute was able to enjoy during the 20th century alongside with a Bach transcription which ties the program together. One of my greatest goals in coming to Paris was to immerse myself into what makes french music characteristically french, but also to develop myself as a recitalist and as a communicator.

Circumambulation (1993), Yann Maresz

I decided to open my program with Yan Maresz’s Circumambulation, which was written on the year of my birth, as a preview to the musical aspects I seek to share with the public over the course of this recital. The piece is set in motion with an unrelenting single note percussive treatment of the flute which establishes a kind of ritualistic atmosphere. A second musical theme emerges from the steady beat with an incantatory tone reminiscent of the musical language found in Jolivet’s Cinq Incantations : “Pour que l’enfant qui va naître soit un fils”. The juxtaposition of these two musical elements deepens progressively until there is a climax of sound and emotion so powerful it is as if the melodic musical line was trying to rip itself apart from the constraints of the quasi-metronomic pulsation underneath it until they both eventually exhaust themselves and recede together. What attracted me to this piece was how the extreme use of extended technique seemed anything but gratuitous : they only seek to enhance the dialogue that the music emits, not to bring attention to the instrument itself. This piece is a challenge for both the flutist and the audience, but I felt compelled to place it first on the program because it is simply impossible to ignore.

Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando (1906), Philippe Gaubert

After the ceremony has been set by Maresz’s ritualistic solo piece, I hope to delight the audience with something beautifully simple while also expressing the greatest possible contrast within the confines of the 20th century french flute repertoire. Gaubert’s Nocturne and Allegro Scherzando, which he dedicated to his master Paul Taffanel, is an iconic gem of the repertoire and an incredible indicator of all the things that make the belle époque style characteristically french. I want to bring to my interpretation the traits of simplicity, lightness, virtuosity, and above all else, charm.

Sonata for organ in E minor BWV526, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)

What enchants me about the organ sonatas of Bach as a performer is the amount of sincerity with which I am forced to confront the music. I’ve been exploring with my teacher to what extent do we as the performer, impose ourselves onto the music, and I think the answer is we don’t. Unlike everything that came after Bach, when we add something to the music, we fundamentally lose something. The first movement with its concerto-like form, is a constant alternation between the fugal elements, the solo thematic material, and the chromatic sequences – this is Bach at his best, and I truly believe the best way to perform this kind of writing is to just ride the harmonic wave. The second movement is truly divine music, full of
wonder and a childlike innocence reminiscent of the choral section his cantata “Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme” BWV 140. The movement has a free, meandering character to it unlike the clear symmetrical structure found in the second movement of the previous organ sonata BWV525. Unusual for this kind of instrumental writing, Bach finishes the seconds mov on a final cadenza on the dominant of the last movement, which leads with virtually no pause into the lively final fugue alla breve.

Flute Concerto (1932), Jacques Ibert

It is my opinion that most flute concertos with piano reductions don’t “work” in the function of a public recital, mostly due to the fact that the orchestral reductions don’t do justice to the original intents of the composition. The Ibert flute concerto is the exception to this rule, largely
due to Ibert’s openness to various musical influences and his signature witty neoclassical style. The orchestral score for the first and the third movements are percussive, almost breathless in the lively strings of sixteenth notes, and filled with lush, explosive harmonies that signal
towards the advent of jazz making its debut in the 20th century. Due to the previous facets, it seems to me that the piano makes for an incredible substitute for the orchestra in a recital setting, which is why I feel strongly about performing this concerto as a recital piece. Worth mentioning is the second movement of this concerto, which I believe is one of the greatest gems of the entire flute repertoire. Ibert exposes the public to his grief in the wake of his father’s death through a series of dualities: passion vs. uncertainty, sadness vs. optimism, and the flute as a soloist vs. as an accompaniment to the concertmaster after the climax of the movement. But as my teacher constantly reminds me, french music must always go towards the light, so even the saddest/heaviest melodies should be played with a smile in your sound and in your phrasing. It brings me great joy to present this program of music I truly adore as a testament to my work in Paris over the last several years.”
-Thomaz Tavares


Yann Maresz (1966-)
Circambulation (1993)

Philippe Gaubert (1878-1941)
Nocturne and Allegro Scherzando 

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Sonata for Organ in E minor, BWV526

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)
Flute Concerto (1932)

About the Musicians

Flutist Thomaz Tavares has been praised by the Virginia Gazette as a “polished performer, with a pure, direct sound…embracing the work’s lyrical and virtuoso demands.” Tavares was a recipient of the Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship for the 2019-2020 year during which he explored the French Belle Époque repertoire and the flute music of the composer Yuko Uebayashi. After a successful intership he now regularly performs, records, and tours with the Orchestre de Chambre Nouvelle Europe under the baton of Nicolas Krauze. In 2019 Thomaz obtained his Diplome Superieur de de Execution from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris with unanimous distinction from the jury. A native New Yorker later raised in Brazil, Tavares completed his Bachelor’s degree in flute performance at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music under the tutelage of Thomas Robertello with a “Premier Young Artist” scholarship and later moved to Paris to study under international soloist Jean Ferrandis. Thomaz has been featured as a soloist and collaborator in festivals in Paris (France), Halle (Germany), Tignes (France), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Dartington (England), and has given numerous recitals throughout France and the United States. He’s most recently been a guest performer with the Open Chamber Orchestra of Paris and Ensemble Calliopée.

In 2006, Qiaochu Li won the first prize at the Lisma International Music Competition in New York, and then came to France for studies at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. She graduated with a Comcertiste Diploma in Françoise Thinat’s class. In the process, she won the first prize at the « Les Clés d’or » Competition, the Gold Medal with unanimous congratulations from Lagny-sur-Marne’s « Rencontres du Piano », the « Prix d’honneur d’excellence » at International competition Leopold Bellan (chamber music) in Trio, etc. She continued her studies in Germany and got her arts diploma at the University of the Arts in Berlin (Universität der Künste Berlin) in the class of Jacques Rouvier. After having perfected herself at the CRR in Paris in the classes of Ariane Jacob, Phillippe Biros and Jean-Marie Cottet, she was admitted in 2013 to the National Conservatory of Music of Paris in the class of Jean-Frédéric Neuburger and is currently following the singing direction classes with Erika Guiomar and vocal accompaniment with Anne Le Bozec.

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