This recording includes some of the most important works of French music for oboe and piano. Some were written for student examinations at the Conservatoire National Supérieure de Paris. Others were dedicated to former teachers, for example, Camille Saint-Saëns’s Sonata to “Monsieur Louis Bass, hautbois- Premier Solo de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire et de l’Opera” (tracks 11, 12 and 13).
The “Sarabande et Allegro” by Gabriel Grovlez (tracks 14 and 15) and the “Fantaisie Pastorale” by Eugène Bozza (track 7) were both dedicated to the then highly acclaimed oboist Louis Bleuzet (1874-1941), also a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. Grovlez noted in his score:
“A mon Ami Louis Bleuzet, Professeur au Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris.” The link between composers and performers was apparently very strong; these works are among the jewels of chamber music.
The oboe sonata (1947) by Henri Dutillieux (tracks 4, 5 and 6) is a jewel, as well, though the composer, born in 1916, thought otherwise. He disavowed this composition, along with other early works. Dutillieux dedicated this sonata to Monsieur Pierre Bayeux, also a teacher at the Paris Conservatoire. Francis Poulenc dedicated his two sonatas on this album (tracks 1, 2 and 3 and 16, 17 and 18) to Sergei Prokofiev and Manuel de Falla.
This album takes the listener from Poulenc to Poulenc. It is a conscious departure from a program following a timeline of the dates of the compositions. The reason for this is to present the music on the album as though in a concert, in a musical progression. The album begins, for example, with the most recent work.