Jean-Michel Damase: Trio (1961)
Molto moderato; Allegretto con spirito;
Allegro scherzando; Moderato; Andante
Lili Boulanger: D'un Matin de Printemps (1918)
(première recording in this arrangement)
Jacques Ibert: Deux Interludes (1946)
Andante espressivo; Allegro vivo
Frederick Delius: Intermezzo from 'Fennimore & Gerda' (1910)
Gordon Jacob: Trio (1958)
Allegro - poco meno mosso - Tempo I; Allegro molto
Edward Naylor: Trio (1924) (première recording)
Eugene Goossens: Pastoral and Harlequinade (1924)
There are videos of the whole album (including rehearsal footage),
and of the Boulanger (complete).
The total time of the album is 61 minutes.
An introduction to the Programme Notes by Jeremy Polmear:
" la musique française, c’est la clarté, l’élégance, la déclamation simple et naturelle ; la musique française veut, avant tout, faire plaisir " [French music is clarity, elegance and simple and natural declaration; above all, French music wants to please.] Claude Debussy
"I am drawn to English music because it reflects the climate and the vegetation which know no sharp edges... it is a very human music, not given to shattering utterances, to human emotion in the abstract, but to a single person's experience." Yehudi Menuhin
The musical cultures of Britain and France in the mid-twentieth century were very different. France was ever moving away from German Romanticism, first with the Impressionism of Debussy and Ravel, then with the revolution of Erik Satie, Jean Cocteau and Les Six, the presence of Stravinsky, and the teaching of Nadia Boulanger making France (specifically, Paris) the centre of the western classical music world.
Britain, too, was doing well. After a century of hosting foreign artists and enjoying the creativity of others, composers such as Parry and Stanford began a musical renaissance, giving rise to a rich harvest of works from the likes of Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Bliss, Maconchy, Bax and Britten. (All these composers wrote chamber music for the oboe.)
What is noticeable in the collection on this album is how the British composers are influenced by the French, but not the other way around. Given the supremacy of Paris at the time this is not surprising. As well as describing a delightful collection of pieces for flute, oboe and piano, these notes also consider if the generalisations of Debussy and Menuhin can be applied to this music from our two countries.
"What a lovely CD! All the pieces are beautifully played. It's good to hear one of Edward Naylor's secular works, as he is well-known for his church music but not so much otherwise." Frances Nex, UK
"Every one of the pieces has something worthwhile to offer (great playing of course - that goes without saying). What about that extraordinary opening by Damase - only to wrong foot the listener by slipping into the most melodious, gay and jokey writing.
"Do I agree with your thesis that there is a difference? Yes and no. I think there is French way of writing and an English way, but sometimes the French write in the English way and the English the French. Coming to it blind I would have picked Damase's last movement and Ibert's first Interlude as English Pastoral, whereas I'd have put the Goossens Harlequinade and all the Jacob Trio as French. However, Naylor is totally in the English style, as is Goossens' Pastoral.
"I've been trying to think of them as two overlapping Venn diagrams but it doesn't work. It's not so much that there's common ground, it's that most composers could write in either style. Which is the point you make about how the French influenced the English. I agree it's harder to point to the English influencing the French. They already had their version of the Pastoral Style. And they were so snobbish about Paris being the centre of the world they weren't open to learning from others!
"So, congratulations on a really lovely disc and a stimulating theme behind it!" Andrew Polmear [relation], UK/France