oboe by Howarth www.howarth.uk.com
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Recordings to celebrate the world of the oboe


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Tres Francaix CD cover
More French music: The French Accent CD cover 'One composer' CDs: The oboe in Mozart CD cover Balkan Bolero CD cover

(click underlined movements to hear MP3 format sound clips)

recording the Sixtuor Variations sur un thème plaisant (1976) for piano and ten wind: Tema - Nine variations - Come primo

Quatuor (1971) for cor anglais, violin, viola and cello
Allegro vivace - Andante tranquillo - Vivo assai - Andantino - Allegro giocoso

Sixtuor (1992) for flute, oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon & horn
Risoluto - Andante - Scherzo - Andante - Risoluto

Elégie (1990) pour commémorer le Bicentenaire de la mort de W A Mozart, for ten wind: Largo

L'Heure du Berger (1947) for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn & piano
Les Vieux Beaux - Pin-up Girls - Les petits nerveux

Total Time 59:04
There are also three videos:
Jean Françaix - 'Très Françaix', Sixtuor - I and Sixtuor - II.

Booklet Notes
The 24-page booklet includes a discussion (in English & French) of the philosophy and attitudes underlying 20th Century French wind music, with many photos. To see a PDF version, click the photo of Jean Françaix:

The Performers

rehearsing Elegie Diana Ambache, piano in Variations and L'Heure du Berger
Anthony Robb, flute in variations, Sixtuor and L'Heure du Berger
Sandra Skipper, flute in Variations, alto flute in Elégie
Jeremy Polmear, oboe in Variations, Sixtuor, Elégie and L'Heure du Berger, cor anglais (english horn) in Quatuor
Christopher Hooker, oboe in Variations, cor anglais in Elégie
Neyire Ashworth, clarinet in Variations and L'Heure du Berger,
bass clarinet in Elégie
Alan Andrews, clarinet in Variations, bass clarinet in Sixtuor,
basset horn in Elégie
Philip Gibbon, bassoon in Variations, Sixtuor and Elégie
Damian Brasington, bassoon and contra-bassoon in Variations,
contra-bassoon in Elégie
Susan Dent, horn in Variations, Sixtuor and L'Heure du Berger
Alexia Cammish, horn in Variations & Elégie
David Juritz, violin in Quatuor
Martin Outram, viola in Quatuor
Rebecca Knight, cello in Quatuor

some of the players
Press Comment
"Oboist Jeremy Polmear has assembled a top-quality band of British players... unfailingly entertaining, technically brilliant, and likely to be a conservatoire [conservatory] library standard for years to come." Michael Round, International Record Review

"Jean Françaix's chamber music, whose great charm is difficult to analyse, is delightfully French, with its wit, lightness of touch, quixotic changing of moods, and blending of colours.

"It is most sympathetically played here, helped by a believable balance, with each wind group felicitously blended. Altogether a most infectious and enjoyable collection."
Ivan March, Gramophone

"What an airy, charming and altogether lovely album this is! ... Since the texture of the music is so clear in this recording, one can admire the exquisite sense of balance the composer used in his compositions as well as his tonal-but-ambiguous sense of melody and harmony." Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine (USA)

"This is a delightful disc and Jeremy Polmear has once again given the oboe fraternity an essential part of its repertoire. His performance and those of his colleagues displays a consummate skill and warmth for the music.

"The technical demands are high and the virtuosity of the ensemble is excellent. The music itself recalls a French style and way of life that has close affiliations with the films of Jacques Tati... listening to this repertoire brings that all back, and the assured performances by all the players catch this very special quality beautifully." Melinda Maxwell, Double Reed News (UK)

Jeanne Belfy's review for The Double Reed (US) is best read in full (this is a PDF).

Listener Comment
"It sounds wonderful. Homogeneous, absolutely perfect tuning, transparent, and for everybody lovely individual moments and solos." Han de Vries, Netherlands

"I love the artwork and detailed notes that you provide with your CDs. It is especially good to have Françaix' comments about the Cor Anglais Quartet. Your playing is terrific, always musical, and I think that your slow movements are truly sublime. Much of the music on the CD is new to me and you and your colleagues perform it with charm and verve. Thank you for giving us a CD produced with such style, substance, and care." Mark Seerup, USA

"Your recording of the Jean Françaix cor anglais Quartet is extremely good. Perfectly clear, articulate and accurate playing with a truly super balance with the strings. This is a recording of note and will surpass anything preceding. Well done!"
David Hollingum, UK

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