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The French Connection (French Music for Wind Ensemble by Caplet, Roussel, Debussy, Jongen) - Hexagon Ensemble
The French Connection (French Music for Wind Ensemble by Caplet, Roussel, Debussy, Jongen) - Hexagon Ensemble

The French Connection (French Music for Wind Ensemble by Caplet, Roussel, Debussy, Jongen) - Hexagon Ensemble

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THE FRENCH CONNECTION
Composer(s):
André Caplet (1879-1925) Albert Roussel (1869-1937) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Joseph Jongen (1873-1953)

Artist(s):
Hexagon Ensemble


More than two hundred years ago, Paris was the centre of the repertoire for wind instruments. In few other cities was so much sheet music being printed for players of wind instruments. Few other cities had so many important instrument makers, to cite only the Raoux dynasty of horn builders. One linchpin in the development of this tradition was the Paris Conservatoire. From the time it was founded in 1793, famous players of wind instruments gave lessons there, in particular French horn players Domnich and Duvernoy. No wonder that the Bohemian composer of music for wind instruments, Antonin Reicha, shrewdly opted to settle in Paris in 1808. The wind quintet grew into an ensemble thanks to his compositions, as he was to write no fewer than 28 works for this line-up. The first performances of Reicha’s wind quintets were given by players of wind instruments that had trained – and in turn taught at – the Paris Conservatoire, such as the flautist Guillou, the oboist Vogt and the French horn player Dauprat. From these virtuosos can be drawn long teacher/student lines that stretch far into the 20th century. Some wrote handbooks for their instruments or etudes that are still used down to the present day. One of them was the flautist Paul Taffanel (1844-1908), author of the Méthode de flûte. His efforts gave new impetus to players of wind instruments in the last quarter of the 19th century. An important step in this direction was the creation of the Société des Instruments à Vent [Society of Wind Instruments] in 1879. This organisa- tion stimulated the composing and performing of new music for players of wind instruments. The Society’s important feats include the world premieres of Gounod’s Petite symphonie in 1885, d’Indy’s Chanson et Danses in 1898 and Enesco’s Dixtuor in 1906. These works were created at a time when the typically French elements were being marked off with ever greater clarity: the fine use of colours and nuances, a transparent sound image, the pure Romanesque spirit and a virtuosity that did not stand in the way of the light touch. Furthermore, countless non-French composers felt attracted to these style elements, such as Delius of Britain, Pijper of the Netherlands and – on this CD – the Walloon composer Joseph Jongen. Unmistakably French, and yet with its own, inimitable idiom is the music of Albert Roussel (1869-1937). Roussel started his career as a navy officer. In 1894, he decided to devote himself fully to music. He resigned from the French navy, and went to study with Vincent d’Indy at the recently founded Schola Cantorum. In his later work, Roussel reacted against every form of vagueness, but his first compositions are still connected to impressionism. An exception to this is the fresh Divertissement, which was premiered on 10 April 1906 by the Sociéte des Instruments à Vent. Roussel had undoubtedly been present at the premiere, eight years earlier, of his teacher’s Divertissement, likewise at the Société, but Roussel’s piece is much more daring. The opening measures, with the ostinato in the piano and an obstinate figure in the oboe, break with the connections of the age. The famous musicologist Marc Pincherle was to go as far as to state in his book on Roussel that these measures anticipate Stravinsky’s Petrushka. The Divertissement consists of four parts, which flow over each other through slowed and accelerated pas- sages. The lively opening is indicated as Animé. This then changes to Lent, with a dazzling flute solo, indicated as dolce. The music is re-enlivened to an Animé to come to rest again in Lent. The opening motif is resumed in the coda, but in a more moderate tempo, to have the music close in complete rest. Nearly twenty years after the creation of the Divertissement, the public at a Salzburg festival in 1923 was still impressed by the progressive character of this work.

Quintette
1 Allegro brillamente 08:21
composers: 'André Caplet (1879-1925)'
2 Adagio 06:50
composers: 'André Caplet (1879-1925)'
3 Scherzo 03:54
composers: 'André Caplet (1879-1925)'
4 Finale - allegro con fuoco 08:02
composers: 'André Caplet (1879-1925)'


5 Divertissement opus 6 06:57
composers: 'Albert Roussel (1869-1937)'


Six Épigraphes Antiques
6 Pour invoquer Pan, dieu du vent d’été 02:44
composers: 'Claude Debussy (1862-1918)'
7 Pour un tombeau sans nom 03:51
composers: 'Albert Roussel (1869-1937)'
8 Pour que la nuit soit propice 02:14
composers: 'Claude Debussy (1862-1918)'
9 Pour la danseuse aux crotales 02:29
composers: 'Claude Debussy (1862-1918)'
10 Pour l’Egyptienne 03:06
composers: 'Claude Debussy (1862-1918)'
11 Pour remercier la pluie au matin 01:44
composers: 'Claude Debussy (1862-1918)'


12 Rhapsody opus 70 18:03
composers: 'Joseph Jongen (1873-1953)'