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About this Piece

Syrinx is the Greek name for the widespread folk instrument made of end-blown reeds, more commonly called “panpipes.” Both names come from the Greek myth about the nymph Syrinx, who escaped the pursuit of the lecherous satyr Pan by turning herself into a bunch of reeds. Pan, hearing the sound of the wind blowing through the reeds, turned them into the instrument associated with him. Debussy seemed to identify with the lustful, half-man, half-goat deity he previously portrayed musically in the song La flûte de Pan and the Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune.

The short flute solo Syrinx was composed in 1913 to accompany a scene in Gabriel Mourey’s play Psyché, in which Pan dies. It became a flute repertory standard when Louis Fleury, the flutist who played the part in the original production, became enamored of the piece and performed it frequently in concert.

— Howard Posner plays lute and baroque guitar and practices appellate law in Los Angeles, though he rarely does those things at the same time. He writes a column in California Lawyer magazine in which he explains how lawyers can write like human beings.