Thursday, October 1, 2009

Recital Program

Sonate for Bassoon and Piano Camille Saint-Saëns (1835 – 1921)

I. Allegretto moderato

II. Allegro scherzando

III. Adagio – Allegro moderato

Tate Addis, Piano

Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 292 W. A. Mozart (1756 – 1791)




Tim Archbold, cello

Variations on a Theme by Paganini (24th Caprice) Maurice Allard (1923 – 2004)

Quartet in D minor, Tafelmusik II G. P. Telemann (1681 – 1767)





Frances Shelly, flute

Andréa Banke, oboe

Tim Archbold, cello

Camille Saint-Saëns: Sonate for Bassoon and Piano, Op. 168

Camille Saint-Saëns was near the end of his life when he completed his three sonatas for woodwind instruments: the current work along with the sonatas for oboe, Op. 166, and clarinet, Op. 167. The bassoon sonata was a competition piece for the Paris Conservatoire in 1924 and was dedicated to Léon Letellier, bassoon professor at the Conservatoire. Much of the French music from around this time uses a harmonic language that was becoming increasingly removed from tonal harmony. However, the distinctly tonal character of these three sonatas distinguishes the composer from the recently deceased Debussy or the composers who had only just been designated as “les six,” including Honegger, Milhaud, and Poulenc.

W. A. Mozart: Sonata in B-flat Major, K. 292

Notes from the publisher:

The Sonata in B-flat major for bassoon and violoncello K. 292 (196c) is unique among Mozart’s work and probably without parallel in all musical literature as well. It is not surprising, then, that it has given rise to many conjectures about the purpose and occasion for which it was written. For example, it has been said that the work was possibly commissioned by Baron Thaddäus von Dürnitz. Be it as it may, we still know just about nothing about the origins of the work to this day. The first edition presented the work as we know it today, i.e. as a sonata for bassoon and violoncello. It was published by J.J. Hummel in Berlin before 1800 (at the latest); it is questionable, however, whether it was issued during Mozart’s lifetime. Since there is no extant autograph by Mozart, we can only speculate about the estimated time of origin (early 1775 in Munich) as well as about the medium intended by Mozart. It would also be plausible to regard the sonata as a work for two celli (or two bassoons), as long as the lower (violoncello) part is not understood as an unfigured thoroughbass part, which would presuppose the participation of a keyboard instrument.

Maurice Allard: Variations on a Theme by Paganini (24th Caprice)

Maurice Allard was born in Sin-le-Noble (Nord) [France] on March 25, 1923. He first studied at the Douai Conservatory and then at the Paris Conservatoire, winning Second Prize in bassoon in 1939 and First Prize in 1940 at the age of 17. Two years later he first appeared as solo bassoonist in the Concerts Lamoureux and the Concerts Oubradous. In 1949 Allard took First Prize at the Concours International de Genéve. In the same year he was appointed principal bassoon at the Opéra, a position he retained until retiring on July 16, 1983. He succeeded his teacher, Gustave Dhérin, as bassoon professor at the Conservatoire in 1957. In 1975 Allard founded and is currently president of Les Amis du Basson Français, an organization devoted to promoting the French bassoon. [1]

Allard published his Variations sur un theme de Paganini (24e caprice) in 1986, toward the end of his career as bassoon professor at the Conservatoire. The work is based on Niccolò Paganini's Caprice, Op. 1 No.24 in A minor, for violin. The theme is recognizable to many from Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. It consists of the theme followed by nine variations, a cadenza, and a repeat of the theme. As in Paganini’s caprice, each variation retains the harmonic and basic rhythmic structure of the theme.

G.P. Telemann: Quartet in D minor, Tafelmusik II

This work is among three sets of “Table Music” Telemann published in 1737. The original edition, designated by the composer as Musique de table, was available by subscription to customers throughout Europe. Intended as occasional music, these works were commonly used as entertainment during, before, or after dinner, especially for feasts and special occasions. The divertimento and serenade, which became popular forms of occasional music later in the 18th century, share a common lineage with Tefelmusk.

The D minor quartet was originally written for two querflöten (transverse flutes), blockflöte (recorder), and basso continuo. In modern concert performances, the three solo voices are most often played on flute, oboe, and bassoon.

[1] Fletcher, Kristine K. The Paris Conservatoire and the Contest Solos for Bassoon. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 1988, pp. 35-36.