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Polmear Ambache Logo JEREMY POLMEAR
oboe, cor anglais, alto saxophone

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The Goossens Legacy
Painting of Leon Goossens
A celebration of music written for Léon Goossens
or popularised by him, including works by Bach,
Fauré, Elgar, York Bowen and Malcolm Arnold.

Léon Goossens is arguably the best-known oboist of the last 100 years, becoming well-known in musical circles on both sides of the Atlantic.

In addition to his high-profile concertos and recordings, he gave recitals with piano in venues all over the UK, and made many friends.

His exquisite feeling for a musical phrase encouraged composers to write for him in their most melodic vein, and he always supported the more mellifluous aspects of 20th Century music. As he himself said, "I always prefer Beauty to The Beast."

"Jeremy Polmear is a musicianly artist, with a sweet,
Goossens-like tone."

Gramophone Magazine, on a recording that includes the
York Bowen and Malcolm Arnold pieces in this programme

Informal photo of Leon Goossens


J. S. Bach, arr. Tovey: Concerto in A for oboe d'amore, BWV 1055
Gabriel Fauré: Pièce (vocalise 1914)
Edward Elgar: Soliloquy (1930)
Charles Colin: Premier Solo de Concours, Op 33


York Bowen: Sonata, Op 85 (1930)
Saint-Saens: The Swan (cor anglais) from Carnival of the Animals
Trad, arr. Kreisler: Londonderry Air
Eugène Goossens: Islamite Dance
Malcolm Arnold: Sonatina Op 28 (1951)

This programme reflects not only the kind of music with which Goossens entertained audiences over many decades, it reflects his life too. When he auditioned for Sir Henry Wood's Queen's Hall Orchestra at the age of 17, Goossens chose the delightful and exciting Solo de Concours by Charles Colin to show off his talents. Elgar's Soliloquy was written in 1931 after the composer had heard Goossens performing in one of his works ("what an artist!"), and which Goossens recorded in 1976.

Sir Donald Tovey arranged a Bach harpsichord concerto for Goossens to play on oboe d'amore in 1937; Malcolm Arnold wrote the Oboe Sonatina in 1951; and the York Bowen Sonata was played by Nicholas Daniel at London's Wigmore Hall in 1987 to celebrate Goossens' 90th birthday.

The shorter, lighter items were always a feature of Léon Goossens' concerts and recordings - pieces which he always played with equal care and affection to the more meaty fare. In this concert they include one by his brother, the conductor and composer Sir Eugène Goossens.

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Celebrating Robert & Clara Schumann, their friends and mileau

Robert and Clara Schumann CD cover (portrait c1850)
J C M Widerkehr Duo Sonata in E minor
J Brahms Three Intermezzi for piano, Op 117
C Schumann Three Romances, Op 22
- interval -
R Schumann Pieces in Folk-Style, Op 102 (cor anglais & piano)
R Schumann Three Romances, Op 94
Fanny Mendelssohn July, from Das Jahr (piano solo)
G Verdi arr. Lovreglio, Fantasia on A Masked Ball

This programme celebrates the most musically important marriage of the mid Nineteenth Century. The relationship between Robert and Clara Schumann was a meeting of musical minds; the similarity of their approach to music, and the close way they worked together, means that each composition contains the influence of the partner. Yet, as this programme shows, they had individual musical personalities too.

The Romances of Robert and Clara show them both in reflective mood, as do the Intermezzi of Brahms, the other great friend of Clara after Robert's death. Robert's more outgoing side surfaces in his Pieces in Folk-Style, originally written for cello and here played on the cor anglais.

Another friend of both Schumanns was Fanny Mendelssohn, here represented by July from her set of Character-Pieces, one for each month of the year.

Romantic music of a more outgoing kind is featured in the splendid and dramatic early (1817) Sonata by Widerkehr, and reaches its apotheosis with the unabashed virtuosity of Lovreglio's Fantasia on some beautiful Verdi tunes.

The Duo's recording of the Schumanns has been designated the Benchmark Recording for this repertoire by the BBC Music Magazine

What an absolutely beautiful recital you gave us - I've heard some lovely concerts in my time but none that were so brilliantly polished as that which you gave to us. Your virtuosity, together with your relaxed but formal stage manner, made for a thoroughly enjoyable evening. And you, Jeremy, I'm sure that you have the ability to breathe through your ears!" Patrick Rigley, Roseland Music Society, February 2007

A Words and Music programme on a similar theme can be found here.

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(all works for oboe and piano unless otherwise stated)

Duo photo by Peter Wiggins
J S Bach, Sonata in G minor, BWV 1020
Beethoven, Piano Sonata in F, Op 2 No 1
Donizetti arr. Pasculli, Fantasia on themes
from the opera Poliuto
- interval -
Edmund Rubbra, Sonata Op 100
Antony le Fleming, Four Impromptus (1984)
'Plums' for the cor anglais -
Saint-Saens The Swan, Ravel Habanera,
Cornish Trad. The Floral Dance
Gershwin arr. Cawkwell, Fantasia on themes
from Porgy and Bess
for alto saxophone, cor anglais & piano

Here is a programme to exploit fully the versatility for which the Polmear Ambache Duo is renowned. The Bach sonata is one of unusual delicacy with a slow movement of melting simplicity, while the Beethoven piano sonata brims with youthful vigour. Antonio Pasculli's 19th Century Fantasia on themes of Donizetti includes simple settings of Donizetti's beautiful slow melodies, intersperced with sections of improbable virtuosity, including one where the oboist is required to play 817 notes without pausing for breath.

In the second half, Edmund Rubbra's deeply felt sonata is followed by four jazz-influenced Impromptus by Antony le Fleming. A set of well-known favourites follows, played on the cor anglais, and the concert ends with a jazz-inspired arrangement for alto saxophone of some memorable tunes from George Gershwin's only opera.

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performing to children in Terrassa, Catalonia, Spain In their concerts for children, the Duo aim to educate through entertainment. They deliberately blur the dividing line between 'classical' and other forms of music, so that children are encouraged to approach any form of music with open ears. Individual programmes can have a higher proportion of serious music, but here is a typical sequence:

Jeremy demonstrates the instrument,
performs the allegro from Vivaldi's C major Sonata,
a member of the audience comes up and plays the oboe
Jeremy demonstrates,
plays the solo from Dvorak's New World Symphony,
an audience member comes and plays the cor anglais
Jeremy demonstrates,
plays Paul Desmond's Take Five,
an audience member comes and plays the alto saxophone
Diana with some young performers 4. THE PIANO
Diana demonstrates, plays The Flight of the Bumble Bee,
seven members of the audience come and play a septet on one keyboard
The audience sings a round such as The Donkey, encouraged by Diana and Jeremy
Played by Jeremy, with clicks from the audience
(Dave Brubeck) - audience claps a 7/4 rhythm with Diana, with Jeremy on drum
Diana plays first slowly, then attempts to play in one minute
Jeremy plays some variations, audience tries to catch him breathing
10. FINALE - the CAN CAN
Plucky members of the audience are encouraged to dance...

The Duo have many variants on this programme, including an illustrated story for younger audiences.
It can also be adapted as an entertainment for audiences unused to western classical music.

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