The Oboe Music of 'Les Six'

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Homme, James Michael
Hill, Mark
Established in the 1920s, ‘Les Six’ was a group of young composers looking to find their way in the musical world in France during a tumultuous time in Europe. After World War I, the path to success for a composer had changed dramatically, forcing composers to develop new methods and opportunities to have their works performed. Georges Auric (1899–1983), Louis Durey (1899–1979), Arthur Honegger (1892–1955), Darius Milhaud (1892–1974), Francis Poulenc (1899–1963), and Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983), coined ‘Les Six’ by Henri Collet, and led by Jean Cocteau found a viable model through which their works would be performed. Though they only worked together for a short time, with vastly different styles, they endeavored to forge a new distinctively French sound during a time of rising musical nationalism. Post-war Paris was a place of international collaborations, with Stravinsky making waves, and the Ballet Russes becoming a fixture. Though collaborations were happening on an international scale, musically, a new ideal of a distinct French sound was occurring. This international collaboration should not be understated, as members of ‘Les Six’ would also take part in these partnerships. After World War I, the hopes of much of Europe were to create an international stage of artists, and though successful during the 1920s, nationalism was once again rising, separating cultures and eventually leading to World War II. This dissertation focuses on some of the music written for the oboe by these six composers. Each chapter highlights one of the members of ‘Les Six’ and discusses a few of the works from the composer’s oeuvre. These noted works include compositions written by the composers when they were formally ‘Les Six’ and some written later in their careers. While exploring the period that the composer wrote these works, this dissertation will also examine what makes each composition stylistically unique. Through solo and chamber works, both large and small, this dissertation project presents some well-known works of the oboe repertoire as well as some infrequently performed hidden gems. This dissertation may be found on ProQuest and all of the recordings associated may be found through the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland. Recital 1 Performed October 25, 2017 at 5PM in Guildenhorn Recital Hall Sonatine, op. 335 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) I. Avec charme et vivacité II. Souple et clair III. Avec entrain et gaîté Josiah Stocker, piano Rondo Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983) Josiah Stocker, piano Impromptu, GA.164 Georges Auric (1899–1983) Josiah Stocker, piano Menuet Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983) Josiah Stocker, piano Trois Pièces Brèves for Oboe solo op.115 Louis Durey (1888–1979) Sonata for Oboe and Piano, FP.185 Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) I. Elégie II. Scherzo III. Déploration Josiah Stocker, piano -Intermission- Trois Countrepoints, H.43 Arthur Honegger (1892–1955) I. Prélude II. Choral III. Canon sur basse obstinée Grace Wang, piccolo; Tiffany Lu, violin; Samantha Flores, cello Rêves de Jacob, op.294 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) I. Jacob’s Pillow II. Jacob’s Ladder III. Prophecy IV. Second dream: fight with a dark angel and benediction V. Hymn to Israel Tiffany Lu, violin; Timothy MacDuff Jr., viola; Samantha Flores, cello; Morgan Daly, double bass Recital 2 Performed April 24, 2018 at 8PM in Ulrich Recital Hall Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra, op. 365 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) I. Animé II. Avec Sérénité III. Animé Hui Chuan Chen, piano Trio for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon, GA.114 Georges Auric (1899–1983) I. Décidé II. Romance III. Final Melissa Morales, clarinet; Jonathan Zepp, bassoon -Intermission- Pastorale, op 147 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) Melissa Morales, clarinet; Jonathan Zepp, bassoon Sonate for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, and Piano, op. 47 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) I. Tranquille II. Joyeux III. Emporté IV. Douloureux Natasha Costello, flute; Melissa Morales, clarinet; Hui Chuan Chen, piano Recital 3 Performed October 11, 2018 at 8PM in Guildenhorn Recital Hall Stanford Serenade, op.430 Darius Milhaud (1892–1974) I. Gaiement II. Lent et paisible III. Vivement Hui-Chuan Chen, piano Trois Chansons Basques, op.23 Louis Durey (1888–1979) I. Prière II. Polka III. Attelage Juliana Franco, soprano; Sarah Balzer, English horn; Dane Clark, clarinet Qun Ren, bassoon Sarabande Germaine Tailleferre (1892–1983) Dane Clark, clarinet Quatre Poèmes de Max Jacob, FP.22 Francis Poulenc (1899–1963) I. Est-il un coin… II. C’est pour aller au bal III. Poète at Ténor IV. Dans le Buisson de Mimosa Juliana Franco, soprano; Grace Wang, flute; Dane Clark, clarinet; Qun Ren, bassoon; Luke Spence, trumpet -Intermission- Divertessement, op.107 Louis Durey (1888–1979) I. Animé II. Lento III. Très animé Dane Clark, clarinet; Qun Ren, bassoon Concerto da Camera, H.196 Arthur Honegger (1892–1955) I. Allegretto amabile II. Andante III. Vivace Grace Wang, flute; Hui-Chuan Chen, piano