Richard Lambert Music

Cantilena for flute and piano (Op.11b)

A lyrical piece for flute and piano borrowing freely from pop, jazz and rock styles

This version of Cantilena (Op.11) was arranged in October 1994, and given its first performance by Ayako Hasegawa at St. Christopher School, Letchworth, with the composer accompanying. Cantilena was first arranged in 1987 for alto saxophone and piano.

Its title derives from its prominent use of sustained, smooth-flowing melodic lines — indeed the melody was recycled from an arietta from the opera, Yellow Earth Ridge, which has since been withdrawn by the composer.

Cantilena tries to capture a popular flavour, borrowing freely from pop, jazz and rock styles: primary and secondary chords are used in arpeggiated piano figures, as mainstream ballads might do; pedal notes are a feature, especially on the tonic note; and a 'bluesy' style emerges in the third main theme.

A pseudo-rock style is twice used on the climax section, which acts as a song-like chorus.

Cantilena is in the key of D Major overall, but even the introduction uses 'wrong-note' harmony (notably flattened sevenths) to produce ambiguous tonality. The piece demonstrates a range of tone colour for the flute across a wide melodic range.


  1. 8 June 1996 St Christopher School Letchworth (Herts, UK), Ayako Hasegawa (flute), Richard Lambert (piano)
  2. 8 June 1996 'Carfax', Broadway, Letchworth (Herts, UK) Ayako Hasegawa (flute), Richard Lambert (piano)
  3. 2 April 1998 Fitzwilliam College Chapel, Cambridge UK, Abby Lambert (flute), Richard Lambert (piano)
  4. 7 August 2009 at St Lawrence Jewry Church, next Guildhall, London EC2. Rachel Smith (flute), Richard Lambert (piano)
  5. 27 November 2010 at the wedding of Abby and Joe at Bassingbourn parish church, near Royston, Hertfordshire. Rachel Haynes (flute) and Richard Prince (piano)



This recording of Cantilena was produced using computer software called Sibelius: it is not a live recording.


You can purchase Cantilena in Cameos for flute and piano (FM 617) from Forton Music.

Like this? Try these