Chamber Contrasts Soloists of the London Philharmonic Orchestra at Wigmore Hall Sunday 28 April 2013 | 7.30pm Supported by Dunard Fund Programme ÂŁ2
Sunday 28 April 2013 | 7.30pm Darius Milhaud Wind Quintet, Op. 443 (17’) Sue Thomas flute Ian Hardwick oboe Nicholas Carpenter clarinet Gareth Newman bassoon David Pyatt horn
Bohuslav Martinů Sextet for piano, flute, oboe, clarinet and two bassoons (16’) Catherine Edwards piano Sue Thomas flute Ian Hardwick oboe Nicholas Carpenter clarinet Gareth Newman bassoon Simon Estell bassoon
Introduction There is a strong French tradition of writing for the wind quintet of flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. It is represented in tonight’s programme by the Quintet written at the end of his long career by Darius Milhaud, an example of his breezy, spiky use of polytonality (several keys at once), and by the brilliant first Quintet of one of music’s great entertainers, Jean Françaix. The Czech-born composer Bohuslav Martinů, who lived in Paris between the wars, also latched on to the French wind tradition. Sadly, the Wind Quintet he wrote in 1930 is lost; but the previous year he composed the Sextet for piano and woodwind (including two bassoons), an engaging product of the ‘jazz age’ – above all in its Blues movement. Beethoven similarly combined piano and wind in his early Quintet, intended as a vehicle for his virtuoso piano playing but also as a demonstration of his individuality and ambition as a composer.
DARIUS MILHAUD (1892–1974) Wind Quintet, Op. 443 (1973)
Ludwig van Beethoven Quintet for piano and wind instruments in E-flat major, Op. 16 (23’)
1 Gai 2 Lent 3 Allègre
Catherine Edwards piano Ian Hardwick oboe Nicholas Carpenter clarinet Gareth Newman bassoon John Ryan horn
Jean Françaix Wind Quintet No. 1 (22’) Sue Thomas flute Ian Hardwick oboe Nicholas Carpenter clarinet Gareth Newman bassoon David Pyatt horn Would patrons please ensure that mobile phones are switched off. Please stifle coughing as much as possible and ensure that watch alarms and any other electronic devices which may become audible are switched off.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Chamber Contrasts series at Wigmore Hall is generously supported by Dunard Fund.
Darius Milhaud was born in Provence, but studied in Paris, where after the First World War he found himself caught up in the group of iconoclastic young composers known as ‘Les Six’. His later life was divided between the USA and France, before he retired to Geneva in 1971. Milhaud was one of the most innovative composers of the 20th century, and one of the most prolific. His very last opus number, 443, belongs to his only full-length wind quintet, which he wrote in Geneva in the summer of 1973, in response to a commission from the French state for the Avignon Wind Quintet. The score bears a dedication to his wife Madeleine, after ‘fifty years of happiness’. The three movements of the Quintet all demonstrate Milhaud’s characteristic bright and brittle polytonality, or the simultaneous use of several keys, a technique that he had devised early in his career. They also exhibit an unusual method of recapitulation: the second half of each movement consists of fragments of the first half shuffled into a new order, and varied by small shifts in the pitches of each part. The
first movement, which has the texture of a web of contrapuntal lines in interlocking rhythms, begins with a strident chord of five notes which then prove to be the initial keynotes of the five instruments’ parts, and ends with a similar but less abrasive chord. The second movement is in pastoral 6/8 metre, with the lines decorated by ornate arabesques; the two complementary halves are separated by a short slower interlude headed ‘Choral’. The movement begins with an unaccompanied minor-key clarinet melody, into which the other instruments intervene explosively, and ends with the same melody in the major on the oboe, joined by the rest of the ensemble in a final diminuendo. The triple-time finale has textures including some imitative and parallel writing between different parts, and makes the most of Milhaud’s ‘copy, shuffle and tweak’ methods of recapitulation: the first 57 bars all return, reordered and varied, as the next 57, before an added three-bar coda rounds off not just the work, but also a distinguished career.
bohuslav martinŮ (1890–1959) Sextet for piano, flute, oboe, clarinet and two bassoons (1929) 1 Preludium 2 Adagio 3 Scherzo (Divertimento I, for flute and piano) 4 Blues (Divertimento II) 5 Finale The Czech-born composer Bohuslav Martinů wrote this Sextet in a week in January and February 1929 in Paris, his home for 16 years until the threat of Nazi invasion forced him westwards to the United States. The work is scored for the unique combination of piano with flute, oboe, clarinet and two bassoons. It was Martinů’s entry for the 1929 Coolidge Prize for chamber music, sponsored by the American patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, which that year was offered for a work for wind quintet with or without piano. In a letter preserved at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Martinů told Mrs Coolidge that he had chosen to write for two bassoons (the second replacing the horn of the standard wind quintet), and that ‘this combination produces entirely unexpected colours.’ He added that he considered the work ‘one of my best compositions’. Nevertheless, it failed to win the prize, and it was not published – nor even, it seems, performed – until after the composer’s death.
However, Martinů did win the Coolidge Prize three years later with another Sextet, for strings. Like Martinů’s well-known La Revue de Cuisine of 1927, the Sextet for piano and woodwind is coloured by the idioms and especially the rhythms of jazz and ragtime, which were all the rage in France at the time – and claimed by the avant-garde rather than dismissed as ‘entertainment music’. Syncopated rhythms and bluesy chords crop up intermittently in the chattering neoclassical counterpoint of the Preludium, in the sinuous melodies of the Adagio, and in the first Divertimento, a scherzo for flute and piano in gigue time (with a momentary nod to Bach’s Fifth Brandenburg Concerto). The jazz element comes to the fore in the second Divertimento, which without change of tempo wraps the wailing blues of its title around a strutting stricttime dance; but it recedes again for most of the Finale, an accelerating sequence of preludes and fughettas on a single theme.
Interval: 20 minutes Please check that your mobile phone is switched off, especially if you used it during the interval.
ludwig van beethoven (1770–1827) Quintet for piano and wind instruments in E-flat major, Op. 16 (1796) 1 Grave – Allegro ma non troppo 2 Andante cantabile 3 Rondo: Allegro ma non troppo Beethoven composed this Quintet in 1796, and took the piano part in the first performance in Vienna in April 1797. The work is scored for the combination that Mozart had devised for his Quintet, K452, in the same key: piano with oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon. Beethoven even seems to have modelled his Quintet on Mozart’s, by giving it the same formal outline, with a slow introduction to the first movement and a central slow movement in B-flat major, and by writing for the wind instruments mostly in short phrases, the length of an easy breath, which are passed around the ensemble. But Beethoven’s Quintet does have a distinctive character of its own: among the wind instruments, it is the clarinet, rather than the oboe as in the Mozart, that most often takes the melodic
lead; the piano part is more flamboyant and concertolike than Mozart’s, very much a vehicle for the composer’s own piano playing; and this contributes to an expansion of Mozart’s tonal and expressive range, anticipating Beethoven’s later achievements in chamber and orchestral music. The introduction to the first movement is in sharply dotted rhythms, harking back to the tradition of the Baroque overture. The main triple-time Allegro presents an easy-going sequence of melodies, but springs into life with a dramatic fortissimo eruption at the start of the development section. This development includes a Haydnesque false reprise, in A-flat major; but to dispel any lingering doubt about where we have got to, Beethoven provides a long and elaborate build-up to the real recapitulation. The slow movement is in rondo form, with two subsidiary episodes led off by longerthan-usual wind melodies, the first for oboe and then bassoon, the second for horn. The principal theme is encrusted with increasingly rich decoration at successive reappearances. The Rondo finale, in ‘hunting’ 6/8 metre, is the most concerto-like of the three movements, with some virtuoso piano writing, especially at the lead-backs to the main rondo theme. (At one performance of the piece, Beethoven is said to have turned one of these into an extended flight of improvisation, to the increasing irritation of the waiting wind players.) The plan is that of many of Beethoven’s concerto finales: the main theme appears four times, the last time broken up to create a coda; the second, central episode is a development section; the first episode is recapitulated as the third. The third statement of the rondo theme is a good example of Beethoven’s rough, even crude, humour: spot the deliberate mistake!
include a large-scale oratorio on the Apocalypse, he is best known as the composer of orchestral and chamber pieces upholding the 20th-century French tradition of wit and frivolity, many of them for or including wind instruments. The first of his two Wind Quintets was written in 1948 for the quintet of the National Orchestra of French Radio – though it had to wait until December 1954 for its first performance, by the quintet of the Austrian Radio Orchestra. This delay was perhaps caused by the extreme demands the piece makes both on individual techniques and on ensemble co-ordination. The Quintet begins with a deceptively lyrical introduction, before the Allegro assai explodes in a profusion of rising and falling chromatic scales and busy accompanying patterns; at the end of the movement, the melody of the introduction returns, adapted to the main tempo and surrounded by overlapping arpeggios. The second movement is a scherzo in a very fast and frequently syncopated 3/4; the Trio begins in waltz time, but is interrupted by little outbursts of Tempo I and then by a slower episode; after the reprise of the scherzo, both segments of the Trio are recalled in the Coda, though neither has the last word. The third, and longest, movement consists of a theme, an ornate oboe melody over slow-moving harmonies, and five free variations: the first full of restless decoration, the second in siciliana time, the third slow but flowing, the fourth lively, the last back at the original tempo but with more continuous triplet movement. The finale is ‘in the time of a French march’, though the march tune has to thread its way through a good deal more virtuoso figuration before the horn’s rhetoric is decisively punctured in the coda. Programme notes by Anthony Burton © 2013
JEAN FRANÇAIX (1912–97) Wind Quintet No. 1 (1948)
London Philharmonic Orchestra Foyle Future Firsts and Guests at Wigmore Hall
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Thursday 13 June 2013 | 7.30pm
Andante tranquillo – Allegro assai Presto – Trio: Un poco più lento – Presto – Coda: Più lento – Prestissimo Theme (Andante) and Variations Tempo di marcia francese
A native of Le Mans, Jean Françaix studied the piano at the Paris Conservatoire and composition with the redoubtable Nadia Boulanger. Although his works
Mozart String Quintet No. 1 in B-flat major, K174 Ireland Sextet for clarinet, horn and string quartet Brahms String Sextet in G major, Op. 36 Tickets £26, £22, £16, £12 London Philharmonic Orchestra Box Office 020 7840 4242 | Book online at lpo.org.uk
Tonight’s performers Sue Thomas (flute) began playing the flute at the age of ten. She studied at the Royal Northern College of Music and Manchester University with Trevor Wye, and with William Bennett at the Royal Academy of Music where she won the Flute Prize. She worked with all the main London orchestras before joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Sub-Principal Flute in 2001. She is a Professor at the Royal College of Music and was awarded an ARAM for services to music in 2010. Her chair in the London Philharmonic Orchestra is generously supported by the Sharp Family. Ian Hardwick (oboe) studied at the Royal College of Music with Michael Winfield and was awarded funds from the Munster Trust for further studies and concerts following graduation. Other performances as a young graduate included recitals and concertos with the South East Arts Scheme at Wigmore Hall, and performances at the Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artists Series. In 1987 Ian joined the English National Opera Orchestra, where he was Principal Oboe for five years before joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Oboe in 1992. Nicholas Carpenter (clarinet) studied at the Royal College of Music with Dame Thea King and John McCaw. For ten years he was Principal Clarinet with the Bournemouth Sinfonietta, before joining the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 1995. In 1997 he recorded the Mozart Quintet for EMI, which is still the recommended recording on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Building a Library’. In 2008 he joined the staff of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama as Professor of Clarinet. Nicholas Carpenter plays Yamaha Custom Clarinets. Gareth Newman (bassoon) studied privately with Charles Cracknell. Orchestral positions have included the Gulbenkian Orchestra in Lisbon, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, the BBC Concert Orchestra and the London Mozart Players. He joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra as Sub-Principal Bassoon in 2008. Concerto and chamber works include the Weber Bassoon Concerto at the 1994 BBC Proms and performances with the Nash Ensemble and soloists of the London Symphony Orchestra. He has been a Professor of Bassoon at the Royal Academy of Music since 1994.
Simon Estell (bassoon) grew up in Yorkshire and began playing the bassoon at the age of seven. He studied with Stephen Reay in Newcastle and then spent a year at Leeds College of Music with Sebastian New before moving to the Royal Academy of Music to study with John Orford, Gareth Newman and David Chatterton. After enjoying a freelance career, he joined the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2002 as Principal Contrabassoon. John Ryan (horn) graduated in 2001 from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he studied with Jeff Bryant and Richard Bissill, and the same year was appointed Co-Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra. He became Principal Horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2009. As a soloist he has performed both Strauss Horn Concertos, the Mozart Concertos and the Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, and has recorded Mozart’s Second Horn Concerto. David Pyatt (horn) won the prestigious BBC Young Musician of the Year competition at the age of 14. He has since embarked on a solo career that has taken him throughout the UK, as well as to Europe, the USA, Canada and Japan. From 1998–2012 he was Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra, and in 2013 was appointed Principal Horn of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition to his many radio broadcasts for the BBC and independent television and radio, David has recorded frequently for CD. His chair in the London Philharmonic Orchestra is generously supported by Simon Robey. Catherine Edwards (piano) performs primarily as an accompanist, chamber player and orchestral musician. Her chamber music experience includes work with Capricorn, the Composers Ensemble and the Nash Ensemble, as well as duo and trio work, and encompasses a wide repertoire. She has performed with all London’s major symphony orchestras, occasionally appearing as soloist with the LPO and LSO. She regularly plays with chamber orchestras such as the City of London Sinfonia, the Orchestra of St John’s, Britten Sinfonia and the London Sinfonietta, with whom she premiered Boulez’s revised Sur Incises.
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