Programme notes

Five Bagatelles

Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)

Gerald Finzi’s "Five Bagatelles" are a beautiful evocation of a pastoral English landscape.  Gentle, lilting, and timeless, Finzi’s  Bagatelles explore the serene and plaintive sound of the clarinet that Mozart, Brahms, Schumann, and scores of other composers found so compelling.The ‘Prelude’ opens with a bustling allegro full of ringing church bells  which transforms into a slower central section taking the listener into a peaceful rural scene. It also features one of the composer’s melodic finger-prints, the interval of a falling minor 7th, creating that wistful quality so typical of his music.The ‘Romance’ (Andante tranquillo) has a beautiful stillness in its opening  with a more confident song-like central section The ‘Carol’ (Andante semplice) is marked by a simple, tender clarinet melody without emotional complexity or tension.The lilting Forlana (Allegretto grazioso) was originally the end of the set but, on his publisher's insistence that the suite needed a fast ending, he added  the Fughetta (Allegro vivace)which undoubtedly provided the lively finale that Boosey demanded. It explores the full range of the clarinet with devil-may-care exuberance and ends with a touch of humour, rarely seen in Finzi's work.

Duo Concertante
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)

The Duo Concertante, Opus 351 was written in 1956 for the French clarinettist Ulysse Delecluse, a clarinet professor at the Paris Conservatoire. It was used as a contest piece for the 1956 Solos de Concours, a competitive examination at the Conservatiore where the students had one month to prepare and memorize the piece. The Duo Concertante is a delightful one-movement work in ternary form. It is rooted in tonality even though it contains cluster-like chords that hint at dissonance. The lively opening section  utilizes the full range of the clarinet with frequent leaps through all registers of the instrument. It has a playful character, punctuated by arpeggio flourishes. The central slower section  is more expressive. The full range of the instrument is once again exploited, with some intervals extending over an octave but this time the smooth and lyrical aspects of the clarinet are explored. The main theme cheerfully returns but this time with rhythmic embellishments leading to a triumphant close.

Excerpts from “The Victorian Kitchen Garden” Suite
Paul Reade (1943-1997)

British composer Paul Reade has written ballets and concert works as well as incidental music for TV programs. He is perhaps most well-known for his theme music for The Victorian Kitchen Garden which was a 13-part television series produced for BBC2, recreating a kitchen garden of the Victorian era . The head gardener painstakingly transformed the weed‐choked ground into an efficient and productive plot, cultivated with the use of Victorian tools and techniques and planted with 19th century varieties of flowers, fruit and vegetables.ʺ The music was recorded by the famous English clarinettist Emma Johnson and was so well received that it earned the composer an Ivor Novello Award.

Sarabande et allegro

Gabriel Grovlez (1879-1944)

Grovlez was an eminent French composer and conductor who studied with Gabriel Fauré at the Conservatoire de Paris, Much of his work shows strong neo-classical influences,The Sarabande and Allegro is a good example of this. The Sarabande was originally a stately dance, popular in the 1600s . As a neo-classical composer, Grovlez took elements of the Baroque dance and added his own interpretation, coloured by the musical style of his day. This work was composed in 1962 and was originally intended for oboe.
Eugene Bozza (1905-1991)
Bozza was a French composer, conductor, and teacher whose list of accomplishments included conducting the orchestra of the Opera Comique in Paris and heading the Conservatoire in Valenciennes. Bozza’s music was strong in fluent melody, elegance of structure, and reflected his keen sense for instrumental capabilities all of which are very much in evidence in this Aria which was written in 1936 for the celebrated saxophonist Marcel Mule. It is based on a Fantasy in F by J.S. Bach and ,due to its popularity, has also been arranged for trumpet and clarinet.

Brasiliera from “Scaramouche” by
Darius Milhaud (1892-1974)

Milhaud was a French composer and teacher. From 1917 to 1962 he used the saxophone in more than 45 works, more frequently than any other composer from the first half of the twentieth century. “Scaramouche “ was composed in 1937 and is a collection of music that Milhaud had recycled from incidental music composed for the Scaramouche Theatre. Arrangements by the composer also exist for two pianos and for saxophone and orchestra. It is comprises of three movements, Vif, Modere and Brasieira. The finale introduces some Brazilian rhythms, memories of Milhaud's stay in Rio de Janeiro during 1917 and 1918 with a note to the performers to play in the style of the samba.

Gabriel's Oboe

Ennio Morricone born 1928

Ennio Morricone is an Italian composer especially noted for his film scores. He has composed the scores of more than 500 films and TV series, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon A Time In The West. "Gabriel's Oboe" is the main theme for the 1986 film The Mission.The soundtrack for the film was very well received amongst critics, being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score and earning Morricone the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Hellenic Suite
Pedro Iturralde, born 1929

Itturalde is a Spanish saxophonist teacher and composer who began his musical studies with his father and performed in his first professional engagements on the saxophone at age eleven. He graduated from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Madrid and went on to lead his own jazz quartet in Madrid, experimenting with the combined use of flamenco and jazz. In 1972 he undertook further study in harmony and arranging at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He taught saxophone at the Madrid Conservatory from 1978 until his retirement in 1994. The “Hellenic Suite” is an exotic blend of traditional Greek influenes in the outer movements with strong jazz flavours in the central section. The“Kalamatianos” , a joyous,festive dance with seven beats in the bar, begins and ends the suite and is based on one of the most popular Greek folkdances