With a focus on the intersection of unusual instrumentation, this unique program offers something for everyone, and the breezy melodies are perfect for the nearing of spring. Triumphant, light, and pastoral, Beethoven’s Sonata for horn and piano in F major leaves the listener humming a joyful tune. In the same vein, Gioachino Rossini’s Duo for cello and double bass can be best described as jaunty, Italianate, and bright. While slightly more angular, Benjamin Britten’s Two Insect Pieces for Oboe and Piano, written for an oboist colleague, opens with dialogue between the two instruments, creating a delightful onomatopoeia. Duruflé’s more somber Prélude, Récitatif et Variations for flute, viola, and piano is a rare example of the composer’s instrumental chamber music, written in 1928 and dedicated to the memory of the well-known French publisher and contemporary music enthusiast Jacques Durand. The final work, Johann Nepomuk Hummel’s Septet in D minor for Flute, Oboe, Horn, Viola, Cello, Bass, and Piano, brings the previous ensembles together for a final stage-call of ingenious harmonies and musical flavors. Hummel, an accomplished pianist and pupil of Mozart, Antonio Salieri, and Haydn, was at the epicenter of the musical communities of Austria in the early 19th century, which gave him consistent access to the most prestigious musicians of his time. It’s no wonder that his composition features such a diverse and charming instrumentation.
Beethoven Sonata for horn and piano in F major, Op. 17 (1800)
Rossini Duetto for cello and bass in D major (1824)
Britten Two Insect Pieces for Oboe and Piano (1935)
Duruflé Prelude, Recitative and Variations, for flute, viola and piano, Op.3 (1928)
Hummel Septet in D minor for Flute, Oboe, Horn, Viola, Cello, Bass, and Piano, Op. 74 (1816)
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