WorldView Episode 10: Adrienne Albert & Jacques Hétu

 This episode of WorldView features music performed on  double reed instruments—such as the bassoon and the oboe—and written by composers from America, Canada, and Croatia.

In Ancient Greece, instruments with two reeds were held in higher regard than any other; in Renaissance Europe they became a favorite medium for minstrels and bards. Updated versions of these celebrated instruments were created in the mid 19th century, and have evolved slightly to become the instruments played today. This article features spotlights on Jacques Hétu and Adrienne Albert, both featured in this episode. 

Jacques Hétu was born in Quebec in 1938 and, at age fifteen, began studying piano and Gregorian chanting at the University of Ottawa. He began writing longer symphonic works in the late 1950s, around the time that he started oboe instruction with Melvin Berman. Hétu later taught music and composition classes at the University of Montreal and the University of Quebec, where he also directed the music department in the 1980s. 

Hétu wrote works for symphonies, soloists, choirs, chamber ensembles, and several groups with unorthodox instrumentation; of his 70 works, 60 were commissioned by specific groups. This diverse repertoire led to him becoming one of the most frequently played Canadian composers of the 20th century. He described his works as featuring “neo-classical forms and neo-romantic effects in a musical language using 20th-century techniques,” and often contrasted slow melodies with percussive rhythms. 

Adrienne Albert is an American performer and vocalist who began focusing on composition in the late 1990s. Born in 1941, Albert started her musical career as a mezzo-soprano. She made several recordings singing with Leonard Bernstein and Philip Glass, and was one of Igor Stravinsky’s favorite altos. Despite being renowned for her skill as a soloist in musicals, choral productions, films, and advertisements, Albert shifted toward composition and arranging, quickly becoming popular in the field. A 2006 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts commissioned one of her more well-known works, “An Alaskan Symphony.” 

This episode of WorldView features Albert’s work Circadia: Three Movements for Bassoon and Piano, performed by Christin Schillinger and Jed Moss. The composition reflects the pulses, rhythms, and daily cycles of living organisms, and features the movements “Cycles,” “Nightfall,” and “Spring Ahead.”

 

WorldView Episode Ten Playlist:

Wayne BARLOW, “The Winter’s Past”, {Brooklyn Philharmonic, Michael Barett, Humberto Lucarelli (ob)} – Koch International Classics

Paul BOWLES, “Sonata for Oboe and Clarinet”, {Catherine Milliken (ob), Carol Robinson, (clar)} – Largo

Jacques HETU, “Concerto for Bassoon, Op. 31”, {CBC Radio Orchestra, Mario Bernardi, Christopher Millard (bsn)} – CBC Records

Adrienne ALBERT, “Circadia: Three Movements for Bassoon and Piano”, Christin Schillinger (bsn), Jed Moss (pf)} – MSR Classics

Boris PAPANDOPULO, “Elegy for Bassoon and Piano”, {Maria Wildhaber (bsn), Mia Elezovic (pf)} – MSR Classics

 

WorldView is a classical music radio show featuring composers from everywhere in the world – except Western Europe. Tune in to hear works by lesser-known artists such as Gabriela Montero  and Bright Sheng, and widen your knowledge of classical music. Hinke Younger hosts each week’s episode of WorldView on Mondays at 9AM and again at 6PM on Charlottesvilleclassical.org.

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