|Atmosphere of entire piece rests on the flutist's shoulders||00h:00m:41s|
|Playing opening line in one breath requires efficiency||00h:01m:28s|
|Try to get the vibrato and tone mix right at beginning||00h:01m:58s|
|Don't overdo the crescendo in bars 3-4||00h:02m:14s|
|Don't diminuendo too much at the end of first phrase since the line needs to be handed over to the oboe||00h:02m:27s|
|Same melody is restated many times, each time orchestrated differently||00h:02m:42s|
|Second statement needs to be played louder. Breath in the middle is OK this time||00h:03m:07s|
|At Reh. 2, melody is extended and rhythm becomes freer||00h:04m:02s|
|Introduction of new color for middle register C-sharp||00h:06m:09s|
|4 meas. after Reh. 2, traditional to move tempo ahead slightly||00h:06m:55s|
|3 meas. before Reh. 3, steadiness of tempo is important. Second flute joins||00h:07m:05s|
|2 meas. before Reh. 3 includes two separate diminuendi||00h:07m:54s|
|Important for last note to have a secure lyricism. Keep vibrato steady and pitch up||00h:08m:54s|
Mark Sparks, Principal Flute of the Saint Louis Symphony, demonstrates and discusses the opening solos in Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun.
PRELUDE A L'APRES-MIDI D'UN FAUN
Mark Sparks was appointed Principal Flute of the St. Louis Symphony by the late Hans Vonk in 2000. He is a frequent soloist with the Symphony and other orchestras and has performed in the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, South America, and Asia. He has appeared as Guest Principal Flutist with many ensembles, including the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Detroit Symphony, and the Bergen (Norway) Philharmonic.
Prior to his appointment in St. Louis Sparks was Associate Principal Flute with the Baltimore Symphony under David Zinman, and Principal Flute of the San Antonio Symphony and the Memphis Symphony. He began his career as Principal in the Canton Ohio Symphony and in Venezuela with the Caracas Philharmonic.
In the summer of 2013 Sparks returned to the Aspen Music Festival and School where he is an artist-faculty member and Principal Flute of the Aspen Chamber Symphony. He also taught his fourth annual master class at Missouri's Innsbrook Institute, and joined the faculty of the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo, Japan.
Sparks is an enthusiastic teacher and maintains a private studio in St. Louis. He is a former full-time faculty member of the Peabody Institute, and frequently presents clinics and recitals in the U.S. and abroad. Sparks has recorded two solo albums, appearing on the Summit and AAM labels, and a new recording of French repertoire for flute and piano is planned for release in 2013. Sparks is also an avid writer about flute playing, and is a regular contributor to Flute Talk magazine's feature "From the Principal's Chair."
Born in 1960 and raised in Cleveland and St. Louis, Sparks graduated Pi Kappa Lambda from the Oberlin Conservatory as a student of Robert Willoughby, winning the 1982 Oberlin Concerto Prize.