Jacques Casterède was born in Paris in 1926. He entered the Paris Conservatoire where he studied composition with Tony Aubin and Olivier Messiaen. At the conservatoire Casterède won first prize in piano, chamber music, harmony, composition and musical analysis before going on to win the coveted Prix De Rome in 1953, which entitled him to a four year stay at the Medici Villa in Rome. In 1960 he joined the staff of the Paris Conservatoire, first as a theory teacher, then as a teacher of musical analysis and finally, in 1988, as a professor of composition.
As well as chamber music and solo piano works, Casterède has also written several concerti, symphonies and choral works, as well as scores for ballets and operas. The main hallmark of his style is its ability to transcend modern musical divides being both very accessible but at the same time managing to keep its integrity and complexity, asking questions of the audience.
This delightful trio for flutes was written in 1962 and has been described by many as depicting a trip to the French countryside. It is divided into four movements, the first of which, Flûtes Pastorales, gives an impression of rural life. Casterède’s use of “natural” intervals, which are often found in folk music, conjures up images of bucolic scenes, and the flowing main melody adds to this picture. The second movement, Flûtes Joyeuses, is a light and sparkling scherzo with a seductive, almost Spanish, dance in the middle. The third movement, Flûtes Reveuses, is based on a theme taken from Casterède’s flute study book, Douze Etudes, published in 1961. This movement’s languid modal melody and slowly unfurling harmony create a calm, whimsical mood which gradually melts away into stillness. The finale, Flûtes Legeres, is a fast, jazzy movement with a light, almost elastic melody. The flutes fly around this tune, always changing something and taking the listener by surprise. After a brief waltzy interlude the main themes return and the work ends with a typically French flick of the wrist.