Three Short Pieces                                                                                Ibert (1890 – 1952)



Assez lent – Allegro scherzando

A Parisian by birth, Ibert studied there at the Conservatoire as a student of Fauré.  His music combines the impressionist techniques of Debussy and Ravel with the neo-classicism of Stravinsky and Les Six (the group of young French composers including Poulenc, Satie and Milhaud), producing works marked by clarity, wit and grace.  The Trois Pièces Breves, written in 1930, are amongst his most performed works.  The two outer movements are lively romps, while the central movement is mostly a duet for clarinet and bassoon, reminiscent of a Bach two-part invention.

                          Last ACMC Performance:  the Zephyr Wind Quintet, February 2005

 Dolly Suite                                                                                          Fauré (1845 – 1924)



Le jardin de Dolly

Kitty – Valse


Le pas Espagnol

Fauré wrote the Dolly Suite for piano duet between 1893 and 1896 for Hélène Bardac, known to the family as Dolly.  She was the daughter of Emma Bardac who became Debussy’s second wife in 1905, and who was rumoured to have been at one time the mistress of Fauré.  If your memory goes back as far as “Listen with Mother” you will recognise the first movement cradle song!  The second movement is not a cat, but records Hélène’s first attempts to pronounce the name of her older brother Raoul.  The remaining movements explain themselves.

                         Last ACMC Performance:  the London Cantilena Quintet, May 1993

Quintet in E flat op. 88 no. 2                                                            Reicha (1770 – 1836)

Lento – Allegro moderato


Poco andante – Grazioso

Finale Allegretto

Born in Bohemia, Antonin Reicha soon left home, and was adopted by his uncle who became musical director to the Elector of Cologne.  In Bonn he played in the same orchestra as Beethoven, and renewed a warm friendship with him later in Vienna, where he also knew Haydn, Mozart and Salieri.  He finally settled in Paris, becoming a French citizen, and a teacher of Berlioz.  Reicha is best known for his chamber music, particularly that for wind quintet, which he can be said to have invented.  Tonight’s work is perhaps the most popular of the 24 that he composed, and although not quite Beethoven, is excellent, substantial music, and very entertaining.

                             Last ACMC Performance:  the Lennox Wind Ensemble, November 1967

Novelette in C major                                                                       Poulenc (1899 – 1963)

Poulenc came from a wealthy Parisian family, renowned for pharmaceuticals.  He, however, first taught by his mother, became an accomplished pianist, and a member of Les Six.  Poulenc’s three Novelettes were originally written for solo piano.  The first one, here arranged for wind quintet, dates from 1927, and is marked Modéré sans lenteur, and is dedicated to “ma tante Liénard”, a family friend.

                                                                                                               First ACMC Performance

Quintet in A flat                                                                                   Holst (1874 – 1934)

Allegro moderato


Minuet and Trio

Poco allegro e cantabile

Gustav Holst was one of the third generation of a family of professional musicians, which had come to England from Latvia in 1802.  At first he hoped to become a professional pianist, but this was prevented by neuritis in his arm, so he studied composition under Sir Charles Villiars Stanford at the Royal College of Music.  Unable to earn a living from his compositions, he played the trombone professionally with the Scottish Orchestra, forerunner of the RSNO, and then took teaching posts at Morley College and at St Paul’s Girls’ School, before fame overtook him with the composition of the suite, the Planets.  The quintet for wind is an early work from 1903, when he was influenced by Wagner, Greig, and Richard Strauss, although the gentle lyricism of the music is most reminiscent of Vaughan Williams, his life-long friend.  Soon after the quintet was written, the unpublished score disappeared and was only discovered again in 1978, in the Surrey History Centre.

                                                                                                               First ACMC Performance

Mississippi Five                                                                                 Parker (1924 – )

King Oliver Steps Out                                                                                            

Blues for Johnny Dodds

The River Queen

Le Tombeau de Bessie Smith

Les Animaux

Jim Parker is a prolific British composer of film and television music, best known for his work on series such as Midsummer Murders and Foyle’s War.  Mississippi Five is an inventive, 1920s-style suite, featuring tributes to such jazz greats as King Oliver and Bessie Smith, and a great romp for all the players.

                                                                                                               First ACMC Performance


March 2015 Programme Notes