The instantly recognisable and ever-popular Méditation, from the opera Thaïs by Jules Massenet (1842-1912), remains a strong favourite in the classical repertoire, superbly arranged for Flute and Piano by French flautist, Paul Taffanel.
Massenet first studied music with his mother before entering the Paris Conservatoire. He is best known for his operas, of which he composed over thirty. Thaïs was first performed at the Opéra Garnier in Paris in 1894 and continues to be one of the composer's most performed operas. The famous Méditation, is an intermezzo, originally for Violin and Orchestra, which has since been arranged for many different instruments, making it a frequent concert piece. The arrangement for Flute and Piano remains in the original key of D major and displays the passionate religious intentions. Taffanel's adaptions include breath marks, phrasing, changing octaves for some notes and articulation, among other aspects.
Massenet's Méditation is challenging through its use of lyricism in the upper register, yet it remains a favoured and popular piece in the Flute's repertoire.