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English texts of the booklet

The english version of the booklet of the Cd.
 
 
 
Mikhaïl Ivanovitch GLINKA (1804-1857)
 
Sonata (unfinished) for bassoon.
 
What Tchaikowski said : "The whole of the Russian school is contained in Glinka as the oaktree is contained in the acorn'' illustrates better than a long speech the importance of Glinka in the musical history of his country.
At first a dilettante composer, he decides from 1830 to acquire real knowledge of European music and to go on several journeys mostly to Italy, Spain, France and Germany where he meets Bellini, Donizetti, Mendelssohn and is noticed by Berlioz.
His ambition is to synthetise learned music with russian popular songs with, according to him :
''The will to unite western fugue to russian music through the sacred bonds of marriage''.
The sonata (unfinished) for bassoon is a transcription of the sonata for alto; it has only one movement, lyrical and virtuoso indicated as ''allegro moderato''.
It is written, as is a large part of his work, in an Italian style that some people would criticize but that can not occult the capital contribution to Russian music by the composer of Ivan Soussanine.
 
 
Ludwig MILDE (1849-1913)
 
Romanze and Andante.
 
A century after his death L. Milde is still the absolute and universal reference for bassoonists.
His three studies are still the undisputed foundation to the learning and mastery of the instrument despite the intervening years.
After learning bassoon, organ and composition in the Conservatoire of Prague, Milde launched his career in Austria and Bohemia with the best orchestras (symphonic as well as lyrical) of his times notably the orchestra of the Opera of Linz where he was solo bassonist between 1870 and 1872.
Appointed professor at the conservatoire of Prague in 1886 (he stayed there until 1894) he composed an incredible number of works for his pupils from concerto with orchestras to short pieces for bassoon including duets, trios, etc... all of them well written but which suffer today from the ''Etudes'' notoriety.
The ''Romanze"" and the ''Andante'' are parts of that catalogue and illustrate the perfect mastering that Milde had in writing for his instrument.
The virtuosity is neither gratuitous nor an obstacle to the elegance and charm of the melodical line.
The ''Romanze'' is more lyrical, the ''Andante more heroical but both are written with heart, talent and the wish to be useful and please the interpreter as well as.... the listener.

 

 Eugène BOURDEAU (1850-1926)

 1st  and 2d solos.
 
Contemporaries, Ludwig Milde and Eugène Bourdeau lead a career that is quite similar : both are bassoonists, organists,composers, famous teachers and authors of books and studies for bassoon that went down to posterity. But there stops the comparison.
If Milde's international fame is partly due to his collaboration with numerous orchestras in Central Europe, Bourdeau was born , lived and died in Paris.
After studying the bassoon, the organ, music-writing and composition (he obtained first prize for bassoon in 1868) he accomplished a career as a bassoonist and organist. First Chapel Master to the English Passionist Fathers avenue Hoche, he was then in charge of the Grandes Orgues in the Church St-Philippe du Roule.
Simultaneously, after being appointed solo bassoonist in the orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra-Comique from 1891 to 1902, he succeeded Eugène Jancourt as bassoon teacher at the Conservatoire de Paris from 1891 to 1922.
It is then that he wrote his books, studies and other works for bassoon especially the first and second solos for the conservatoire of music of Paris competition to in 1894 and 1907.
Chevalier of the Legion of Honour, Bourdeau is also the author of an important catalogue of religious music : masses, motets,...
If the first solo is still inevitable for bassoonists the second one is now less in favour although its writing, lyricism and virtuosity as much for the bassoonist as for the pianist desserve every attention.
 
 
Edward ELGAR (1857-1934)
 
Romance op.62.
 
A self-taught musician, E. Elgar learned several instruments, among them the organ (he succeeded his father in the organ-loft of St-George Church) and the bassoon that he played skillfully in an orchestra of wind instruments.
All his life, he had a special fondness for that instrument which was developped in his orchestral scores especially his famous symphonic study ''Falstaff''.
Conductor of the London Symphonic Orchestra then ''His Majesty's music-master'', deeply patriotic but pacifist as well, Elgar was entirely successful in Britain with his marches for orchestra such as ''Pomp and circumstances n°1'' that British people consider as a kind of unofficial anthem.
The ''Romance'' for bassoon composed in 1910 with orchestra in its original version is a loving and melancholic tribute to the instrument of his youth.
 
 
 Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)
 
Sonata for bassoon
 
Referred to as ''French Beethoven'' by Gounod, Saint-Saëns lived a most auspicious life.
A fine and cultured man gifted with a brilliant understanding and a flamboyant spirit, he always lived very well by his pen.
A friend of the publisher Jacques Durand who was totally devoted to his cause, virtuoso pianist applauded from his first concert at the age of four to his death, organist at the Madeleine Church (Liszt said he was the best organist in the world) from 1858 to 1878, conductor, founder of the National Society of Music, musical critic, musicologist (he published the works of Rameau), professor of composition at the age of twenty two, member of the Institute at thirty six, chevalier of the Legion of Honour three years later, Doctor Honoris Causa in Oxford University, a acknowledged poete and writer, he was happy enough to unveil his own statue in Dieppe, his birthplace and finally.... the State accorded him State national funeral.
Some narrow minded people will notice that his work did not develop with time while it started during the golden age of romanticism it finished after the blossoming of the likes of Debussy, Fauré, Ravel, Wagner, Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Varèse.
It is true that Saint-Saëns never sought to benefit from new musical ideas even though he was competent enough as some of his pasticcios prove but he was too attached to his own idea of form and stylistic clarity.
In a prolific production that covers all genres, the sonata for bassoon plays the part of a musical will.
Written in Algiers a short time before his death, it is dedicated to his cousin Léon Letellier, professor at the Conservatoire of Paris and soloist in the orchestra of the Théâtre de l'Opéra and the Société des Concerts du Conservatoire.
It is made up of four movements of which the last two go together and of which we will emphasize the lyricism of the adagio and the delicate virtuosity of the scherzo.
 
 
 Gabriel PIERNE (1863-1937)
 
Concert solo and Concert prelude.
 
Born in Metz in 1863, Gabriel Pierné moved to Paris with his parents, who were also musicians, after the French defeat of 1870.
There he took piano, organ, writing and composition lessons, made friends with Claude Debussy and obtained the second grand prize of Rome in 1882.
He started his career as an organist by succeeding   his master César Franck in the organ-loft of Ste-Clotilde in 1890 but achieved fame as conductor.
An assistant to Edouard Colonne as early as 1903 he became the titular conductor of the orchestra of the same name in 1910 where he stayed until 1934.
He was the creator of masterpieces such as ''Daphnis et Chloé'' by Ravel, ''L'oiseau de feu'' by Stravinsky or ''Iberia'' by Debussy.
Prolific composer, Pierné, modern but not revolutionary, assimilated the heritage of his predecessors : Franck, Massenet, Saint-Saëns as well as the discoveries of his friend Debussy.
Chamber music occupied a large part, especially the music for wind instruments, of a production that consisted of more than 150 works and included all genres.
The ""solo de concert" op.35 composed in 1898 for the conservatoire competition falls in with the expectations for that kind of exercice with alternation of melodical elements and velocity.
At the same time the ''prélude de concert'' composed for the competition of 1933 shows the perfect mastery of the writing for bassoon and the deep knowledge Pierné had of early music.
Elected to the Academy and Chevalier of the Legion of Hounour in 1924, Gabriel Pierné passed away in Brittany in 1937 a week before Albert Roussel and four months before Maurice Ravel.

 

 Henri DUTILLEUX (born in 1916)

 Sarabande et cortège.
 
Born in 1916, H. Dutilleux is one of the most important composers of the XXth century.
He started to study music in Douai then at the Conservatoire de Paris where he attended classes of music-writing, composition and history of music of Jean and Noël Gallon, Henri Büsser and Maurice Emmanuel.
In 1938 he obtained the "Grand Prix de Rome" and, after some time spent at the Opera House of Paris and working for French Radio, he dedicated himself to composition.
A refined and learned musician, he developped both a poetic and rigorous personal work in his own language, independant of the various musical currents of his times. He was nevertheless very careful to keep up to date with aesthetic researche at that time.
A man of integrity and with a rare artistic awareness, he is careful to give the public only works whose quality is indisputable. He is therefore one of the most played French composers in the world.
Professor of composition at the "Ecole Normale" then at the "Conservatoire de Paris", H. Dutilleux is Grand Croix of the Legion of Honour.
Sarabande et Cortège, composed in 1942 originally for the conservatoire competition , has been since considered as a work of reference in the literature for bassoon.
 

Translation : Hervé Cantal.

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