The French flutist Jan Merry, in a letter to Charles Koechlin’s widow shortly after the composer’s death in 1950, eloquently described the appeal of his writing for the flute: ‘This restrained emotion, always dignified, very French; without exaggeration, without affectation—how directly it goes to the heart and to the hearts of those who listen!’ Perhaps the Fourteen Pieces
, Op 157b, best exemplify these qualities. They testify also to Koechlin’s skill as a miniaturist: each of these brief pieces establishes its particular character and mood with great economy of means. They were composed originally for unaccompanied flute as Op 157; Koechlin added a piano part later. A partial first performance was given in 1941 by Jan Merry and the composer. Op 157b is dedicated to the flutist Paul Dommel and his wife, Amy Dommel-Diéry, a pianist. They were, like Jan Merry, devoted friends of Koechlin and his music.
from notes by Fenwick Smith © 1990