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Jolivet: Chamber Music For Oboe And Cor Anglais / Schilli, Triendl

Release Date: 10/29/2013 
Label:  Oehms   Catalog #: 875   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  André Jolivet
Performer:  Oliver TriendlCristina BianchiMarco PostinghelChristiane Karg,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 0 Hours 56 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

JOLIVET Sérénade 1. Sonatine. 2 Controversia 3. Chant pour les piroguiers de l’Orénoque 4. Suite liturgique 5 Stefan Schilli ( 1,2,3,4 ob, 5 eh); 1,4,5 Read more class="ARIAL12">Oliver Triendl (pn); 2,5 Marco Postinghel (bn); 3,5 Cristina Bianchi (hp); 5 Christiane Karg (sop); 5 Sebastian Klinger (vc) OEHMS 875 (56:34)

While the flute music of André Jolivet has had several recordings over the years, his equally distinguished chamber music for oboe has not. This new disc from German oboist Stefan Schilli fills the gap admirably.

Jolivet’s first major influence was Edgard Varèse––he was Varèse’s only European pupil––but he had also considered becoming a painter and studied with the Cubist artist Georges Valmier. Something of the strong lines and monumentalism of the Cubists made its way into his work as a composer. Above all, Jolivet was interested in ritual, specifically pagan, pre-Christian ritual. In 1946, he said his aim was “to restore music’s ancient and original meaning, when it was the magic and incantatory expression of the sacred in human communities.” His colorful and evocative Five Ritual Dances for either piano or orchestra ought to be a staple of the repertoire. During and shortly after the Second World War his style became more lyrical and less abrasive, through a desire to communicate more easily, and he then also embraced Christian ritual in his work; the Suite liturgique dates from this period. His late music, consisting primarily of concertos and instrumental display pieces, synthesizes his previous styles. (I am indebted to Caroline Rae’s comprehensive notes in the Erato Jolivet collection for much of this information.)

The Suite liturgique , the earliest work on this program, is a setting of various portions of the Catholic Mysterium for soprano and small instrumental ensemble. The movements include a Salve Regina, Magnificat, Benedictus, and two Alleluias . Influences range far and wide, from mediaeval music (which is subject to pastiche in a movement entitled “Musette”) to a Hebraic flavor the composer deliberately intended by substituting English horn for oboe and including harp in the ensemble. Some of the melodic figures in the opening “Prélude” have a Middle Eastern modality, while the harp glissandos evoke an Impressionistic, otherworldly atmosphere. The broad range of influences is explained by the fact that this Suite was taken from incidental music to a play. Repetitive, melismatic motifs, a Jolivet fingerprint, are a feature of the “Alleluias”; they are sung with impressive security and control here by Christiane Karg. A previous recording of the work under Jacques Jouineau from the late 1960s uses a soprano choir, but I find Karg’s solo voice both more expressive and better integrated into the musical fabric.

The Sérénade of 1945 also exists in two versions: one with oboe and piano (recorded here) and one for wind quintet with the oboe dominating. Schilli and Triendl certainly make the case for the former in this performance. A meandering “Cantiléne” is succeeded by a brisk “Caprice,” an expressive “Interméde,” and finally a grotesque, slightly jazzy “Marche burlesque.” (Jazz is another of the influences turning up regularly in Jolivet’s music. It does so again in the syncopated “Ostinato” movement of the Sonatine .) The Sérénade was written as a test piece for the Paris Conservatoire, and stretches the oboist’s technique; but here, as everywhere throughout this recital, Schilli meets each virtuosic demand while maintaining a polished, plangent tone.

The remaining duos are equally impressive. The Sonatine for oboe and bassoon showcases the composer’s skill in maintaining musical interest with a limited sonic palette. The second movement, “Récitatif,” sounds for all the world like a conversation between two old friends. Possibly the old friends have just been to the Paris Opéra to see Strauss’s Salome : At one point the oboe quotes a famous oboe figure from the “Dance of the Seven Veils,” and then the bassoon instantly misquotes it.

The short Chant pour les piroguiers de l’Orénoque again is a product of the composer’s interest in tribal cultures, in this case that of the natives of the Amazon region. The latest work on the program, Controversia for oboe and harp (1968), is one of many pieces commissioned by the husband-and-wife duo Heinz and Ursula Holliger, and again it is a technical showpiece, displaying the avant-garde glissandos, rapid trills, and bent notes that are a feature of Heinz Holliger’s playing. Like most of Jolivet’s late music the Controversia is atonal (insofar as it lacks a clear tonal center)––but not, I would imagine, to the point of controversy.

This release is an impressive follow up to Schilli’s disc of a few years back, where he played the Strauss, Martin?, and Zimmermann concertos with Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (of which he is, or was, the first oboe). His colleagues are equally fine, with special mention for Triendl’s sensitive piano playing. Sound quality is excellent.

FANFARE: Phillip Scott
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Works on This Recording

Suite liturgique by André Jolivet
Performer:  Oliver Triendl (Piano), Cristina Bianchi (Harp), Marco Postinghel (Bassoon),
Christiane Karg (Soprano), Stefan Schilli (English Horn), Sebastian Klinger (Cello)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; France 
Sonatine for Oboe and Bassoon by André Jolivet
Performer:  Stefan Schilli (Oboe), Marco Postinghel (Bassoon)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; France 
Serenade for Oboe and Piano by André Jolivet
Performer:  Stefan Schilli (Oboe), Oliver Triendl (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; France 
Chant pour les piroguiers de l'orénoque, for oboe & piano by André Jolivet
Performer:  Stefan Schilli (Oboe), Oliver Triendl (Piano)
Written: 1953 
Controversia by André Jolivet
Performer:  Stefan Schilli (Oboe), Cristina Bianchi (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 

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