Classic & French – or a lot of hot air in E flat! That’s the latest in the series 2016 Twilight Chamber Music at Rippon Lea presented by the Team of Pianists and guests.
Artists joining pianist Darryl Coote for this concert are Ann Blackburn (oboe), Alex Morris (clarinet), Jack Schiller (bassoon) and Jenna Breen (horn).) Together they perform major Quintets by Mozart and Beethoven for this unique combination of instruments. Mozart’s Quintet for piano and winds, K 452 and Beethoven’s Quintet for piano and winds in E-flat, Op 16 are on the program, together with the wit, satire and beauty of Poulenc’s Elegy for horn & piano and Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon.
Team of Pianists describes this as an unusual program that is sure to entertain. This concert in the 2016 Twilight Chamber Music series is at Rippon Lea. Complete with a grand chandelier and ornate balustrade overlooking the large original parquet dance floor, the Grand Ballroom is an ideal setting for concerts, whatever the season.
More about the works to be performed:
Mozart (1756-1791) – Quintet for piano and winds in E-flat major, KV 452
Mozart’s only quintet for piano and winds was completed on March 31 1784, with Mozart performing in the first performance at Vienna’s Burgtheater on April 1. Mozart wrote to his father: “I myself consider it to be the best work I have ever composed.” It was published firstly in 1794 in a version for piano and strings possibly not by Mozart, then again in another version in 1800, a version also not faithful to all the details in Mozart’s autograph. The work contains three movements: an Allegro in sonata-form preceded by a Largo introduction, a sublime Larghetto middle movement in the dominant key B-flat major, then typical of Mozart, an Allegretto finale in sonata-rondo form.
Beethoven (1770-1827) – Quintet for Piano and Winds in E-flat major, Op. 16
Beethoven’s quintet for piano and winds in E-flat was composed during a concert tour in 1796, around the same time that drafts for the two cello sonatas Op. 5 appeared. Beethoven himself performed the piano part in the first performance, in April 1797. Scored also for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn and set in the same key as Mozart’s quintet, quite possibly it was inspired by the earlier composer’s work. Interestingly, Beethoven arranged his quintet as a quartet for piano and string trio, bearing also the same opus number and tempo designations. Dedicated to Prince Schwarzenberg, the quintet is cast in three movements as is Mozart’s quintet: an Allegro preceded by a Grave introduction, an Andante (in the dominant key B-flat, as in Mozart’s quintet), concluding with a jolly Allegro.
Poulenc (1899-1963) – Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon
One of the group of composers known as ‘Les Six” (the others were Milhaud, Auric, Durey, Honegger and Tailleferee), Poulenc contributed fourteen works to the chamber music repertory, notably for wind instruments as well as for strings. He was also a significant composer of piano works, of songs, of works for large ensemble and he composed three operas. The Trio for piano, oboe and bassoon was written in 1926 and was dedicated to his colleague Manuel de Falla. The first movement commences with a solo introduction, followed by an energetic and tuneful Allegro. Apart from the usual “joie de vivre” which one associates with Poulenc, the movement is notable also for the interpolation of a slower section set in a lush romantic style: a device which Poulenc sometimes employed in other fast movements also. The second movement meanders through a beautiful and sophisticated harmonic palette, taking many unexpected turns, before ending on an unresolved dissonance. The composer’s sense of humour comes to the fore in the finale, with sudden and unexpected changes of metre and harmony. The trio as a whole is a fine example of Poulenc’s melodic and rhythmic invention, of his ingenuity of harmony and of his wit: none of it feeling hampered by the constraints of traditional forms.
Poulenc – Elegie for horn and piano
Poulenc happened to be in London when famous horn player Dennis Brain was killed in a car accident in 1957 and he wrote the Elegie the next day. It was premiered on 1 September 1958, exactly one year after Brain’s death, with Neill Sanders playing horn and with Poulenc at the piano. Felix Aprahamian wrote of the work in 1999, that “It represents the briefest of a dyed-in-the wool tonal composer’s flirtation with the 12-tone system.” A 12-note theme is announced by the horn alone at the beginning of the work, whereas a different 12-note theme on the horn concludes the work, over a C major harmony in the piano. Nonetheless, much of the writing is typical of Poulenc’s styles of phrasing and harmony.
Venue: Rippon Lea Ballroom
192 Hotham Street,
Elsternwick, VIC, 3185
Contact:Team of Pianists
Tel: (03) 9527 2851
This story is a co-production of Classic Melbourne and the Team of Pianists, who supplied the information and picture of Darryl Coote (right) with two of his guest performers.