Hyperion Records

Sonata for oboe and piano

'Poulenc: The Complete Chamber Music' (CDA67255/6)
Poulenc: The Complete Chamber Music
Buy by post £20.00 CDA67255/6  2CDs  
Movement 1: Élégie: Paisiblement
Track 6 on CDA67255/6 CD2 [5'13] 2CDs
Movement 2: Scherzo: Très animé
Track 7 on CDA67255/6 CD2 [3'51] 2CDs
Movement 3: Déploration: Très calme
Track 8 on CDA67255/6 CD2 [4'22] 2CDs

Sonata for oboe and piano
Composed in 1962, Poulenc’s Oboe Sonata, the last of his three woodwind sonatas, is inscribed to the memory of Serge Prokofiev. Its opening Élégie, marked ‘Paisiblement’, begins with the oboe’s high D, the first note of an introductory four-note phrase. What follows is equally familiar Poulenc: a steady bass line below pulsing harmony with which the piano supports the oboe’s plaint in G, a line informed throughout by the gruppetto that begins it. Then the piano initiates a more second lyrical theme in E flat major, soon adopted by the oboe. A third theme featuring a double-dotted rhythmic motif provides the climax of the movement before the peaceful recapitulation of previous material and a quiet ending.

The central Scherzo, based on B flat, presents an animated 6/8 movement in which pointed rhythms are balanced with smoother motifs, and an arpeggio is altered rhythmically to rock up and down. A slower and more lyrical middle section rises to a climax in the piano part, gradually receding to a dominant close before the toccata-like Scherzo resumes without respite up to a brusque ending.

The final Déploration, marked ‘Très calme’, muses on A flat minor on a chorale-like theme announced by the piano. A ‘verse’ in C minor follows before the oboe sings out the plaint proper above the piano’s quaver pulse, marked ‘monotone’. There are several shifts in tonality before the final page clinches the essentially sad mood of the movement.

from notes by Felix Aprahamian © 1999

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