THE ANEMOS ARTS ENSEMBLE
FRIDAY 24th FEBRUARY 2012 at 8:00 pm
Programme - "AULD ALLIANCE"
Haydn - Divertimento
Zemlinsky - Humoresque
Poulenc - Duo for Clarinet & Bassoon
Francaix - Quintet
James MacMillan - Untold
Richard Rodney Bennet - 3 Songs for the Instruction of Singing Birds for Flute
Elgar - Morning Song
Debussy - Petite Suite
The two main genres of chamber music differ quite markedly in method and effect. In the string quartet, the similar timbre of each instrument is usually used to express the composer's deepest and most intimate emotions, whilst in the wind quintet the differing colours of each instrument is exploited in genial and approachable music.
Divertimento in Bb major Joseph Haydn
Wind instruments were still difficult to manage in Haydn's time, and therefore more exploited for outdoor music by Handel and his successors. Haydn wrote nothing for wind ensemble as such, and the current work is an arrangement of the well-known St. Anthony Chorale – which itself is only controversially attributed to Haydn.
Humoresque Alexander von Zemlinsky
Zemlinsky wrote more in the romantic "hypertonal" style of Mahler than in the expressionist atonal style of his illustrious pupil Schoenberg. His Humoreske was written in 1939 three years before his death, when the composer had adopted a leaner neo-classicist style. The work is a rondo in form.
Duo for clarinet and bassoon François Poulenc
Allegro – Romance – Finale
Although Poulenc's whimsy almost makes him a "musical Dadaist", his music – like much wind music – relates back to 18th century dance form, and particularly to the contrapuntalism of the time. This work reminds us of Mozart and of wind writing before the great improvements in wind instrument design of the 19th century.
Quintet Jean Françaix
Andante Tranquillo – Presto – Tema con variazioni – Tempo di Marcia
Françaix was a protégé of Ravel and like him an essentially neoclassical composer more inclined to put his own modern spin on older forms rather than to atonality and what he called "formless wanderings". His light-hearted wit was well suited to wind music, of which he wrote much, including this quintet in 1948.
Untold James MacMillan
MacMillan, probably Scotland's most famous modern composer, was influenced by Scottish traditional music as well as by his Roman Catholic faith. Untold was written in 1987 and revised in 1991. It is a short, slow movement in which you will hear the cor anglais rather than the oboe. Its mood is lyrical and expressive, loosely based on an Irish love-song.
3 Songs for the Instruction of Singing Birds R R Bennett
For the Starling – the Garden Bull Finch – the East India Nightingale
Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's style remains essentially eclectic, encompassing a variety of forms. Here, it is the solo flute which is intended to instruct six birds (of which we are to hear three) rather than vice versa: "Choice observations and Directions Concerning ye Teaching of all sorts of Singing birds after ye flageolet and flute, if rightly made as to size and tone ... with Lessons properly composed, within ye compass and facility of each bird."
Morning Suite Edward Elgar
Elgar´s works for wind ensemble date mainly from his youth and are little played nowadays. The current "Morning Suite" is an arrangement of his Chanson de Matin originally written for small orchestra and popular in an arrangement for violin and piano.
Petite Suite Claude Debussy
This is a transcription of an early work for piano duet, written around 1887 when the composer was developing from late romanticism to impressionism. The suite comprises four light hearted relaxed in four depictive movements. In the first, "En bateau", a sublime melody floats above broken chords. The whole-tone scale, which Debussy was to exploit so much in his later works, and semi-quavers, are used to symbolise ripples, whirlpools. "Cortège" suggests a marching band at a festival. The interplay of voices in "Menuet" suggests elfin pipes and horns with a final magical vanishing trick of fairy horn-calls echoing faintly around the main melody. "Ballet" is an energetic dance, with a contrasting central section based on French popular theatre music of the day.
The Anemos Arts Ensemble
Angela Schneidt - Flute
Sander Teepen - Oboe / Cor Anglais
Karel Plessers - Clarinet
Cleo Simons - French Horn
Lucas Bos - Bassoon
The Anemos Arts Ensemble (formerly known as the Brabants Wind Quintet after the orchestra from which its members are drawn) was born not only out of a love for music but also out of the pleasure of performing in the intimacy of a small ensemble, and the desire to seek out the personal contact with listeners which this medium allows. Angela is a native of Aberdeen, and the ensemble tour Scotland most years: it is a pleasure to welcome them back to Nairn. The ensemble have named this evening's programme "The Auld Alliance" to reflect the predominance of French and British composers.