The flute and piccolo music of Martin Amlin: An introduction, discussion, and analyses of the Sonata for Flute and Piano; 'Trio Sonatina' for flute, clarinet, and piano; and Sonata for Piccolo and Piano.
Author: Jelle, Lisa A., DMA. Rice University, 2000. 71 pp. Advisor: Brandt, Anthony K.
Die geschichtliche Entwicklung der kleinen Flötentypen und ihre Verwendung in der Musik des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. ("The historical development of the small flute types and their use in the music 17th and 18th Centuries.")
Author: Meierott, Lenz.
Availability: Unknown. Not yet translated from German. (If you have info regarding how to obtain this title, please contact me)
Dramatic use of the solo flute, alto flute, and piccolo in Benjamin Britten's chamber operas.
Author: Reber, Margaret Susan Moffatt, DMA. Arizona State University, 1996. 333 pp. Advisor: Peterson, Trygve C.
There is no solo repertoire written for piccolo from the 19th century, but the piccolo did become a standard member of the orchestra during this era. The first non-operatic appearance of the piccolo in the orchestra was in the finale of Symphony No. 5 (1807) by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). The piccolo gained more independence in Beethoven's works than in any other non-operatic compositions until Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 (1877), containing the first example of a truly soloistic passage for the piccolo (70 years after it was first introduced to the orchestra!)
The piccolo, the smaller "cousin" of the flute, seems to have appeared in the 18th century. Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) composed three concerti for "flautino" and although scholars aren't exactly sure if this instrument refers to the transverse piccolo (held horizontally) or a sopranino recorder (held vertically), these concerti are considered standards in the piccolo repertoire today.
The piccolo became popular as a solo instrument in the late 1800's and appears frequently on recordings at the beginning of the 20th century when recording technology such as Thomas Edison's phonograph and Emile Berliner's Gramophone (pictured) captured its sound better than that of the flute. This period is known as the "Golden Age" for the piccolo, when over 1200 piccolo solos were composed and recorded from 1889-1930. Civilian and military concert bands were also popular during this era, the most famous of which was headed by John Philip Sousa (1854-1932). These bands would often feature piccolo soloists in works by composers such as Eugene Damare, H. L. Kling, Charles La Theire, and Paul Agricole Genin. These concert bands even existed in Nebraska, an example of which is shown in the photo (below left) of the Humbolt City Band in 1910. (Notice the piccolo player sitting in the front row in the left-hand corner!)
At the end of World War I musical tastes changed; Dixieland and ragtime became popular, forcing record companies to drop concert band and wind soloists from their catalogs. No more important solo works for piccolo written before the mid 1970's. The piccolo still gained ground as a popular solo instrument in the symphonic repertoire in the works of composers such as Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971), Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), and Dimitri Shostakovich (1906-1975). Concert band repertoire continued to utilize the piccolo in a more virtuosic and soloistic fashion as well, evident in works by Gustav Holst (1874-1934), Percy Grainger (1882-1961), and Vincent Persichetti (1915-1987).
In 1973, Persichetti (pictured) wrote his Parable XII for solo piccolo, Op. 125, now considered a standard in the piccolo repertoire. Since that time, hundreds of solo and chamber works for piccolo have been written by prominent composers such as Samuel Adler, Martin Amlin, Bruce Broughton, Michael Daugherty, Daniel Dorff, John La Montaine, Lowell Liebermann, Mike Mower, Thea Musgrave, and Gunther Schuller, just to name a few! The National Flute Association now regularly features piccolo competitions, clinics, performances, and actively commissions new works for the little flute. Many flutists have made a name for themselves as piccolo players, and several are slowly but steadily contributing recordings of the instrument's solo repertoire, including: Walfrid Kujala (Chicago Symphony, retired), Jan Gippo (St. Louis Symphony), Lois Herbine (Orchestra 2001), Zart Dombourian-Eby (Seattle Symphony), Laurie Sokoloff (Baltimore Symphony), Nan Raphael (U.S. Army Field Band, retired) and Cynthia Rugolo (U.S. President's Own Marine Band).
It seems that piccolo enthusiasts today are perhaps enjoying a second "Golden Age."
In any case, it is truly an exciting time to be a piccolo player!
Dombourian-Eby, Zartouri. "The Piccolo in the Nineteenth Century."
Roberto, Richard. "The Golden Age of the Piccolo."
Wacker, Therese. "The History of the Piccolo from Fifes to Intricate Keys." The Instrumentalist, Vol. 56 No. 4: November 2001.
PICCOLO ARTICLES IN PRINT
"Piccolo Discography, Part I." [Lists CDs featuring works for piccolo only.]
Author: Beard, Christine Erlander.
Journal:Flute Talk, April 2006.
"Piccolo Discography, Part II." [Lists CDs that contain piccolo tracks and CDs of the Vivaldi piccolo concerti.]
Author: Beard, Christine Erlander.
Journal: Flute Talk, May/June 2006.
"Some Observations on the Piccolo."
Author: Coltman, John W.
Journal: The Flutist Quarterly XVI/1, Winter 1991: pp. 17-19.
"A History of the Piccolo." [A brief summary of her doctoral dissertation.]
Author: Dombourian-Eby, Zartouhi.
Journal: The Flutist Quarterly XVI/1, Winter 1991: pp. 13-16.
"Let's Talk Picc." [Monthly article featuring various piccolo topics.]
Author: Gippo, Jan; Cynthia Ellis (and numerous other contributors).
Journal: Flute Talk, December 1988 - present.
"Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder: A Piccoloists's Dilemma."
Author: Krell, John.
Journal: The Flutist Quarterly XVI/1, Winter 1991: pp. 20-22.
"Embellishment Italian Style." [Features Kujala's ornamentation for the second movement of Vivaldi's Piccolo Concerto in C, RV443.]
Author: Kujala, Walfrid.
Journal: Flute Talk, October 1988: pp. 12-14; originally in The Instrumentalist, December 1976.