“A conversation between friends.”
Catherine Drinker Bowen (1897-1973)
Bohuslav Martinů (1890-1959)
The Sextet for Piano and Winds (1929) whisks us away to Paris in December. The liberating influence of Foxtrot, Tango, Charleston and jazz, combined with the high standards of French woodwind playing, inspired Martinů to compose one of his most original compositions. By removing the horn from the woodwind quintet, and adding piano and a second bassoon, Martinů created a euphonious and versatile ensemble.
Jean Françaix (1912-1997)
L’Heure du Berger
Written in 1947, just after the Second World War, the work looks back to the Twenties, a generation earlier. Owing much to the influence of Poulenc, the piece radiates a simplicity characteristic of Francaix’s works. Instilled with undisguised caricature by the composer —’Berger’ being the name of a popular aniseed aperitif. this “Heure du Berger” takes place at Maxim’s during the Belle Époque.
Maurice Emmanuel (1862-1938)
Sonata for Clarinet, Flute and Piano
The Sonata for Flute Clarinet and Piano, Op. 11, was written in 1907 and is generally regarded as Emmanuel’s chamber music masterpiece as well as being the best known and most often played.
Luciano Berio (1925-2003)
Opus Number Zoo
Berio went to Tanglewood in the United States in 1950 to take lessons from Luigi Dallapiccola. There he met the stage director and author of children’s books, Rhoda Levine, who gave him four poems to set to music. Berio wrote “Opus Number Zoo – a children’s play” – but what assumes the guise of child-like innocence, is really a piece for adults. The little chick which is dancing with the fox will, in all probability, end up being eaten; the horse complains about the humans who have ruined the earth, and the mouse repines over transience. Berio accompanies the spoken roles with music which has the impression of being naive and cheerful and, yet, suggests something entirely less congenial.