KOECHLIN Trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon (14’)
TOMASI Évocations for oboe (8′)
LUTOSŁAWSKI Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon (12′)
POULENC Sonata for clarinet and bassoon (8′)
IBERT Cinq pièces en trio (9′)
The reed trio brings together the colourful expression of the oboe, the warmth and versatility of the clarinet and the rich depth of the bassoon. Lutosławski’s precise and carefully sculpted trio is followed by Poulenc’s spiky and tender duo and Ibert’s five glorious technicolour pieces.
Watch Adrian Wilson, one of the stars of this concert, in a fun oboe trio recorded specially for our lockdown Festival in May 2020.
Save £s when you book for 5 Music in the Round concerts or more at the same time. Find out more here.
View the brochure for our Sheffield 2024 concerts online here or download it below.
KOECHLIN Charles, Trio for Oboe, Clarinet and Bassoon
Charles Koechlin was an extremely prolific composer, but much of his music remains to be rediscovered. A pupil of Fauré, he was on friendly terms with many of his contemporaries including Ravel and Debussy, and for a time he served as a kind of mentor to Poulenc. His ‘Trio d’anches’ – Trio for reed instruments – was completed in December 1945 and first performed in a French Radio broadcast on 3 May 1946, played by Paul Taillefer (oboe), André Dupont (clarinet) and André Gaby (bassoon). The first movement is slow-moving and serious and it is followed by a spiky Allegro, its main theme introduced by the solo bassoon and then taken up in imitation, first by the oboe, then the clarinet. The Andante begins with the oboe alone, playing a lyrical idea which dominates the movement. The fast finale is playful in mood and technically demanding with rapid scales and angular rhythms, rushing to an exciting close where all three instruments play together in octaves.
© Nigel Simeone
TOMASI Henri Frédien, Évocations for oboe
Henri Tomasi was born in Marseille and by his mid-teens was earning a good living from playing piano in the city’s restaurants and hotels. The First World War meant that Tomasi had to postpone his studies, but when he finally enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire, his composition teachers included Vincent D’Indy and the flautist Philippe Gaubert – music for wind instruments would later dominate Tomasi’s output. Tomasi divided his career between conducting radio and theatre orchestras, and composing his own works, and he once said: “I’ve always been a melodist at heart. I write for the public at large. Music that doesn’t come from the heart isn’t music.”
His Évocations for solo oboe were first published in 1969 and are sonic postcards depicting the landscape and music of four very different countries and their cultures.
© Tom McKinney
LUTOSŁAWSKI Witold, Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon
Following the Warsaw Rising in August 1944, Lutosławski fled to the town of Komorów (20km south-west of Warsaw) and worked on his Trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon in the attic of a house belonging to one of his uncles. He later wrote that he chose three wind instruments because such an ensemble was ‘the simplest way’ to realise his ‘research into pitch, rhythm and the organisation of sounds’. In short, it was a kind of experiment in compositional discipline, written under extremely difficult circumstances. By the time Lutosławski returned to Warsaw more than 150,000 Polish lives had been lost as a result of brutal Nazi suppression of the Rising.
The Trio was first performed at the Festival of Contemporary Music held in Cracow in September 1945. Writing shortly after the premiere, the Polish critic Stefan Kisielewski described this three-movement work as ‘a laboratory piece, a composer’s étude displaying some of the elements from which Lutosławski constructs his work … and a world of sound combinations which is personal and absolutely original.’
© Nigel Simeone
POULENC Francis, Sonata for clarinet and bassoon
Poulenc wrote this Sonata in September 1922 – it is one of his three early sonatas for wind instruments without piano. The first performance took place at a concert on 4 January 1923, in which Poulenc’s music was played alongside Satie’s La Belle Excentrique and Socrate. Among those present (along with Satie and Poulenc) were two of the great patrons of modern music, Misia Sert and Serge Diaghilev. The Sonata was particularly admired by Stravinsky (not always a fan of Poulenc’s music), who wrote to fellow composer Georges Auric in November 1922 after seeing the manuscript of this work and another of Poulenc’s sonatas from the same time. “I very much loved the music of these two sonatas,” Stravinsky said, “very fresh music where the originalist of Poulenc manifests itself as it does in none of his other works. Moreover, this music is very, very French.”
© Nigel Simeone
IBERT Jacques, Cinq pièces en trio
After serving in the French Navy during the First World War, Ibert won the Prix de Rome for composition in 1919 and his early successes included the orchestral pieces called Escales (‘Ports of Call’), written in 1922. His best-known work, the Divertissement for orchestra followed in 1929 and secured his position as an inventive neoclassicist (who, in the Divertissement, demonstrated that he also had a sense of humour).
He composed the elegantly crafted set of Cinq pièces en trio in 1935 for the Trio d’Anches de Paris, the same ensemble who premiered Martinů’s Four Madrigals, as well as works by Milhaud, Roussel, Françaix and others. The score has a dedication ‘To Fernand Oubradous and the Trio d’Anches de Paris’, and as well as giving the premiere, these players also made the first recording, issued by Louise Dyer’s L’Oiseau-lyre label in 1938. The five short pieces are all written in a charming style which is well-suited to the three wind instruments.
© Nigel Simeone