Fresh and Appealing

MIKE WHEELER listens to the Françaix Wind Trio


The Birmingham-based Françaix Wind Trio - Jacob Perkins, oboe, William Hammond, clarinet, and Dominic O'Sullivan, bassoon - made an entertaining contribution to the current series of Derby Cathedral lunchtime concerts - Derby UK, 18 June 2021.

They included two numbers arranged by Jacob Perkins from the collection of piano pieces Frösöblomster (Frösö-Flowers) by Swedish composer Wilhelm Peterson-Berger - charming miniatures, and his equivalent of Grieg's Lyric Pieces. (Frösön is the town in north Sweden where he eventually settled.) 'Sommarsång' (Summer song) was particularly fresh and appealing, and in 'Vid Frösö Kyrka' (In Frösön church) the affinity with Grieg came through from time to time.

In between, they played Beethoven's Variations on 'Là ci darem la mano' (from Mozart's Don Giovanni), originally for two oboes and cor anglais. They deftly navigated the changes of character, from the skittish first variation to the comic-tragic sixth, and relished the ending's expressive ambiguity.

Claude Arrieu studied with Paul Dukas. Her Trio d'Anches (Reed Trio, also known as Trio in C) is influenced by Poulenc but not dominated by him. We heard a polished account of the dapper, spirited last movement.

The Françaix Wind Trio in 2019
The Françaix Wind Trio in 2019

The second Peterson-Berger piece was followed by three movements from Erwin Schulhoff's Divertissement - for some reason renamed 'Divertimento' on this occasion. Again, there was some vivid characterisation, from sardonic waltz to chattering finale. There was, too, in all five of Ibert's Cinq Pièces en Trio, particularly the poignancy of No 2 and the flowing lyricism of No 4.

A lively response to the carnival atmosphere of Brasileirinho by Brazilian composer Waldir Azevedo (1923-1980) led smoothly into Dominic O'Sullivan's arrangement of Gershwin's I Got Rhythm, cheeky reference to 'Fascinating Rhythm' and all.

Copyright © 28 June 2021 Mike Wheeler,
Derby UK








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