chapter  1
3 Pages

The Emancipation of the Recorder and Flute

It is hard to trace the history of flutes (of all types) and their performers in Italy during the first half of the eighteenth century. Between the last years of the seventeenth century and the first years of the eighteenth there emerged in France a distinct fashion for the flute. In Italy, the flute's emancipation from the domination of the oboe seems, to judge from the infrequency of mentions of early flautists or of works written for their instrument, to have lagged behind in comparison with France or Germany. However, even as early as the first years of the eighteenth century some of the woodwind players – in Italy as elsewhere – achieved recognition for their merits as performers on the recorder and became virtuosos of the instrument who disseminated works especially written for it. Robert Valentine's ten published opera for recorder (or, in one instance, transverse flute) testify to the vitality of these instruments in early-eighteenth-century Italy.