Principal flute: Jan King
Janet King comes from a long line of flautists: her grandfather played the flute
and her father was a keen player with the Manchester-based Beethoven Society
orchestra until his death at the age of 84. She has played with The Alderley
Edge Orchestra for the past 15 years, and is a former member of the orchestral
committee. Like her father, she also appears with the Beethoven Society,
playing flute and piccolo.
She enjoys all types of classical music but admits to a particular liking of
smaller scale chamber music by composers like Poulenc, Debussy and Ravel. When
not making music, looking after her husband and Jasper the cat, her relaxations
include gardening, patchwork and embroidery.
Janet has an unusual claim to fame - she has played in a schoolboys'
international football final at Wembley and a rugby international at
Twickenham. But not in a sporting sense: on each occasion, she was playing the
euphonium in the Women's Royal Air Force Band!
Although the flute has been around for many centuries, it did not come into
general orchestral use until the early 18th century.
The mechanics of the instrument are relatively straightforward: a silver or
wooden tube is closed off at one end and an aperture is cut into the side,
across which the players blows to produce the required note. The modern design
of flute owes much to the German maker Theobald Boehm who, in the 1830s, worked
out the correct position for the holes along the length of the instrument which
determine the pitch of each note and developed the system of keys that enable
the player to finger the notes with ease.
The range of the standard orchestral flute extends some three octaves above
middle C; it is not a transposing instrument and music is therefore notated at
concert pitch. Higher passages require the tiny piccolo which has a similar
compass above top D (although the upper notes can be difficult to control),
whilst at the other end of the scale the alto flute makes an occasional
appearance to provide notes down to a low G.
An outstanding characteristic of the flute family is its tremendous agility and
the repertoire is full of dazzling sequences that enable the player to
demonstrate his or her skills. The great solo in Ravel's Daphnis and Chloé culminates in a tremendous exhibition of flute virtuosity, and amongst other
well-known orchestral works for the flute are Mozart's flute concertos, the
Serenade for flute, violin and viola by Beethoven and Bach's Suite in B minor.
The Alderley Edge Orchestra