This is a great album of some new and also some lesser known chamber works for wind instruments and I found that the quality of playing was extremely good and the music interesting and mostly unknown to me.
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) was the only female member of Les Six and her music is not at all well known, in spite of the fact that she had an active writing career. Her Sonate Champêtre, written in 1972 for oboe, clarinet, bassoon and piano, is a light-hearted work in a neoclassical vein and in three movements. The piece has charm and wit, and is somewhat reminiscent of the music of Poulenc. I am surprised that this is a world premiere recording. The ensemble members have a pleasing sound and a lot of attention is placed on getting the balance just right.
Listen — Tailleferre: Allegro Vivace: Gaiement (Sonate Champêtre)
(UA220060 track 3, 0:00-0:38) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
There are Things to be Said (2009) by Ingrid Stölzel (born 1971), based on a poem by Cid Corman, is of just under ten minutes duration. The thing you notice straight away is that the music is often simple and there is very effective use of silence. One feels an openness to it that fully reflects the mood of the poem. It is scored for flute, oboe and piano. The piece was composed in 2009 but is easily something that will be enjoyed by most listeners.
Listen — Ingrid Stölzel: There are Things to be Said
(UA220060 track 4, 5:17-6:00) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
The short Three lyric pieces by Bill Douglas (born 1944) - 'Wings of the Wind', 'The Hills of Glencar' and 'Autumn Song' - are scored for two oboes and bassoon. These charming pieces would be a delight to play and they have obviously been written by someone who knows the instruments well.
Listen — Bill Douglas: The Hills of Glencar (Three lyric pieces)
(UA220060 track 6, 0:51-1:15) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
The lovely Metamorphosis (2018) by Jenni Brandon, scored for two oboes and piano, is a journey of change in nine stages, some dance-like and joyful and others more reflective. The music's mood changes often but this is a very enjoyable and listenable work.
Little Duos for oboe and cor anglais by Rhian Samuel (born 1944) is another premiere recording. The first two little pieces take their inspiration from hearing bagpipes outside whilst in a room in the early hours of the morning. The inspiration for the last one, 'Sentries', is drawn from strutting male pheasants. This is another very effective and enjoyable set of little pieces.
Listen — Rhian Samuel: Sentries (Little Duos)
(UA220060 track 11, 0:53-1:16) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
Century Dances (2009) by Cecilia McDowall (born 1951) is a trio for oboe, clarinet and bassoon and is a little suite of five dances that, in the composer's words, 'stretch a timeline from the eighteenth century to the present, each different in character'. These great little pieces are, like everything on the disc, very enjoyable.
Listen — Cecilia McDowall: Tango (Century Dances)
(UA220060 track 15, 0:39-1:14) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
The works of Georg Melchior Hoffmann (1679-1715) were sometimes mistaken for those of J S Bach. I had not heard of him before and it was interesting that he was included on this disc. His Trio Sonata is an interesting contrast to the other music on this disc. It is scored for two oboes and bassoon, and the performers certainly sparkle playing this work. The last movement reminds me quite a lot of some of the trio sonatas of Zelenka.
Listen — Georg Melchior Hoffmann: Vivace (Trio Sonata in C minor)
(UA220060 track 20, 0:59-1:28) ℗ 2022 Ulysses Arts :
The last work here is the Trio for flute, oboe and bassoon in G major, Op 86 (1917) by Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) and is the only work on this disc that I have heard before. I have actually played this work and it was very enjoyable to rehearse and perform. It is in three movements and is light hearted and witty.
This is a great compilation for anyone who likes chamber music for wind instruments. Quite a bit of it is music of living composers, and all is very enjoyable. The performers are really fine and have a fine technical command of their respective instruments and a pleasing sound that blends well. The programme notes are informative and the quality of the recordings is very good. The Tailleferre Ensemble has been together since 2019 and, if this disc is anything to go by, I hope that we hear a lot more of them. This is a disc to be thoroughly enjoyed.
Copyright © 6 April 2023