Please wait...

Hyperion Records

Click cover art to view larger version
Front illustration by Audrey Kellow (b?)
Track(s) taken from CDA67036
Recording details: December 1997
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Arthur Johnson
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: June 1998
Total duration: 9 minutes 28 seconds

'Four delightful works. Music which is as easy on the ear as it is beguilingly performed. A magical disc ideal for unwinding after a long hard day at the chalk face' (Classic CD)

'An absolute must for every Françaix addict' (Fanfare, USA)

'An hour's worth of pure delight' (Hi-Fi News)


Vivace  [2'21]
Lento  [2'46]
Vivo assai  [2'04]
Allegro  [2'17]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Divertissement was written at the time of the first performance of the oratorio L’Apocalypse selon St Jean, which took place in Paris in June 1942, and shortly after the composition of the Cantate en l’honneur de Sully (the tercentenary of whose death was marked in 1941). This was a troubled time for France, during the Nazi occupation, and, as if to rid himself of the daily privations, Françaix composed this delightful Divertissement. Some time later, he made a version for bassoon and string orchestra, yet—for reasons which remain unclear—the work was not first performed until 1968. It falls into four short movements, the first being a kind of moto perpetuo in which the basson bubbles along almost continuously over an entrancing string texture before a sudden ‘joke’ ending leaves us with a smile.

The second movement is a very simple structure as befits its relatively brief span. The music forms an idyllic study, as if idly contemplating a rural scene in high summer, and is based upon one idea that leads to several related fragments of themes. The reverie is banished in the jaunty scherzo movement, rhythmically irregular and full of tricky writing for the bassoon (as well as for the strings!). It is the bassoon, however, which seems to be the ‘odd one out’ until at last it joins the strings—almost!—for the ebullient brief coda. In the finale, after a peremptory opening gesture from the strings, the bassoon takes control of the music and gradually restores its authority, until the final quip—which takes everyone by surprise.

from notes by Robert Matthew-Walker © 1998

   English   Français   Deutsch