Trios for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano

MICHAEL HEAD (1900-1976): Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, PETER HOPE (b.1930): 4 Sketches for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, DANIEL BALDWIN (b.1978): Awatovi, ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019): Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano.

Catalogue Number: 08X051

Label: Dux

Reference: 1719

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Highly enjoyable and diverting, thoroughly tonal rarities. When André Previn supplies the most modernist work on the programme, that pretty much sets the tone of the whole exercise, but all the pieces are thoroughly attractive and beautifully crafted. Head's trio is neoclassical, with a great deal of French influence, especially that of Poulenc. The first movement alternates rhythmically vital episodes with a tender, lyrical theme; several Debussy preludes may be called to mind by the genial middle movement, while the lively finale has some Ravellian and further Debussyan elements. Similar influences are evident in Hope's Four Sketches, though the harmony has a distinctly English accent. The first movement Prelude suggests English pastoralism, while the busy scherzo burbles with irrepressible good humour. The Arioso is plaintively melodic, with a gentle melancholy, not far from the world of film music (a field in which the composer has worked extensively as arranger), and the jolly finale is a folksy dance with syncopated jazzy and bluesy inflections. Daniel Baldwin (no, not that one) is a widely performed composer with a penchant for wind ensembles. His Awatovi tells the story of the peaceful coexistence and subsequent conflict between a Hopi village in Arizona and Spanish conquistadors. A dramatic recitative opens the work, followed by a picturesque pastoral duet for the winds. The morally inflected melody of the central movement, and its ornamentation, suggest a song of the indigenous people, while the incisive marching rhythm and a melody that seems to have wandered in from a Morricone score to a spaghetti western clearly depicts the coming confrontation; a reprise of the dramatic opening and pastoral material suffice to summarize the tragic parting of the ways of the two groups. Neoclassicism is again the basic vocabulary of Previn's trio. The first movement contrasts a rhythmically emphatic subject and a wistfully sentimental one. The sombre, expressive slow movement, full of Rachmaninovian lamenting phrases and chromatic descents carries more emotional weight than anything else on the disc, while the "Jaunty" finale is exactly that, with jazzy syncopations and unpredictable, improvisation-sounding metrical shifts, with an endearing nod in the direction of 1970s TV incidental music. Agata Piotrowska-Bartoszek (oboe), Dorota Cegielska (bassoon), Tomasz Bartosek (piano).


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