Devienne Oboe Sonatas - Volume 2
Francois Devienne was a flautist, bassoonist and composer who also played the oboe; he was born in 1759 and died in Paris in 1803, having enjoyed a distinguished career not only as a wind player but as an opera composer. He was one of the 11 composers who contributed to the eccentric Revolutionary opera Le congres des rois, as well as writing the exceedingly popular Les visitandines. A fine portrait of him by a pupil of Jacques Louis David (reproduced in Grove) suggests that he was very much a man of his time, the dawning romanticism which his early death hardly left him time to see.
His oboe sonatas support this. They are rooted in the Baroque, but the ornate, expressive lines have romantic inflections. They are also testing for the performer, even on a modern instrument (which Peter Bree uses). Originally for flute, they have been transposed and slightly adapted for oboe, and suit the instrument beautifully. For the most part, they deal in florid, expressive melody over a simple accompaniment. Bree is a pupil of the Dutch school who has also trained in England; he has a clear, attractive tone and the response to long melodic phrases of the good Bach wind player coupled with a delicate sense of a more romantic pathos.
Roderick Shaw provides intelligent and musicianly support. There is a certain amount of Devienne's orchestral and chamber music in the catalogue; it would be interesting to have a glimpse of his operatic music.'