IBERT Works for Wind
Jacques Ibert’s music is the very epitome of French style, with its ‘elegance, lightness, tonal perfection, a dash of insolence and a chronic triviality of inspiration’ (Jacques Tchamkerten’s booklet essay). Although much of this music is far from serious, the Capriccio (perhaps the finest work here) has a delicate touch of nostalgia at its centre, which balances the bonhomie of the rollicking opening and closing allegros. The first of the Trois Pièces brèves which follow skips in infectiously on the woodwind; the Andante is gently melancholy but high spirits return in the engagingly piquant finale. The Cello Concerto, impressively played by Henri Demarquette, is introduced with a brief ‘Pastorale’ before the soloist dominates the central ‘Romance’ with an accompanied cadenza, then the finale bustles away headily.
The Deux Mouvements move from relaxed charm to Assez vit et rythmé, followed by the captivating miniature duet for soprano voice and flute, Deux Stèles orientées, based on the oriental poems of Victor Segalen. This is delightfully sung here by Karine Deshayes with Edouard Sabo the flautist. The Cinq Pièces en trio (oboe, clarinet and bassoon) show Ibert at his most engaging. The collection ends appropriately with the most complex work here, Le jardinier de Samos, scored for flute, clarinet, trumpet, tambourine, violin and cello, which ends the concert with great flair but is the least interesting work melodically. However, like the rest of the programme, the playing is polished, alive and sensitive, and the recording cannot be faulted. A disc well worth having.