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Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and harp

Boris Tchaikovsky (b. 1925 - d. 1996)

Ivan Podyomov (photo credit: Dmitry Bezkorovayny)

Ivan Podyomov (photo credit: Dmitry Bezkorovayny)

Composer
Boris Tchaikovsky (b. 1925 - d. 1996)
Composition Year
1990
Work Movements
1. Allegro
2. Andante sostenuto
3. Allegro
4. Largo
Artists
Clíona Doris [harp], Hervé Joulain [horn], Peter Whelan [bassoon], Julian Bliss [clarinet], Ivan Podyomov [oboe], Áshildur Haraldsdóttir [flute]

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

This work is a huge surprise. It holds a special place amongst all Tchaikovsky’s work for its mood of mysterious and enlightened contemplation that has been a feature of so many composers’ late works. The only other major late work that he wrote was the Symphony with Harp. The association of both works with the harp, an instrument whose sound reflects some ideal world rather than day-to-day reality, lends the two compositions a feeling of transition to a new spiritual plane. Another Russian composer, Petr Klimov, has commented that the music of the Sextet is full of light, not with the blinding noonday sun, but with the soft rays of a setting sun in autumn.

The opening Allegro is a kaleidoscope of different images refracting the surface glitter of the surrounding world, pausing only in the unhurriedly unfolding second subject that seems to look beyond the surface to an unsteady reality. This is first played by the French horn and by the clarinet in the reprise. The Andante divides the instruments into three independent timbre groups. The main group is the trio of oboe, clarinet and bassoon, whose theme is interrupted by short phrasesplayed by the harp. A third group of flute, muted French horn and harmonics of the harp play faint echoes of the main theme, underscoring the otherworldly mystery of this strange movement. The Scherzo’s main theme is unusually orchestrated with single notes played by different combinations of instruments. 

In this perpetually surprising little work, the biggest surprise is the extraordinarily moving Largo finale. The French horn leads the way with a simple hymn-like melody that gradually works towards a deeply felt fortissimo climax and then fades away. It is particularly fitting that this music is being played in a church.

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Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and harp

Composer: Boris Tchaikovsky (b. 1925 - d. 1996)
Performance date: Saturday 2nd July 2011
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Boris Tchaikovsky (b. 1925 - d. 1996)
Work Title Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn and harp
Composition Year 1990
Work Movements 1. Allegro
2. Andante sostenuto
3. Allegro
4. Largo
Artist(s) Clíona Doris [harp], Hervé Joulain [horn], Peter Whelan [bassoon], Julian Bliss [clarinet], Ivan Podyomov [oboe], Áshildur Haraldsdóttir [flute]
Performance Date Saturday 2nd July 2011
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:17:06
Recording Engineer Anton Timoney, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category Large Mixed Ensemble
Instrumentation fl, ob, cl, bn, hn, hp
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys
This work is a huge surprise. It holds a special place amongst all Tchaikovsky’s work for its mood of mysterious and enlightened contemplation that has been a feature of so many composers’ late works. The only other major late work that he wrote was the Symphony with Harp. The association of both works with the harp, an instrument whose sound reflects some ideal world rather than day-to-day reality, lends the two compositions a feeling of transition to a new spiritual plane. Another Russian composer, Petr Klimov, has commented that the music of the Sextet is full of light, not with the blinding noonday sun, but with the soft rays of a setting sun in autumn.

The opening Allegro is a kaleidoscope of different images refracting the surface glitter of the surrounding world, pausing only in the unhurriedly unfolding second subject that seems to look beyond the surface to an unsteady reality. This is first played by the French horn and by the clarinet in the reprise. The Andante divides the instruments into three independent timbre groups. The main group is the trio of oboe, clarinet and bassoon, whose theme is interrupted by short phrasesplayed by the harp. A third group of flute, muted French horn and harmonics of the harp play faint echoes of the main theme, underscoring the otherworldly mystery of this strange movement. The Scherzo’s main theme is unusually orchestrated with single notes played by different combinations of instruments. 

In this perpetually surprising little work, the biggest surprise is the extraordinarily moving Largo finale. The French horn leads the way with a simple hymn-like melody that gradually works towards a deeply felt fortissimo climax and then fades away. It is particularly fitting that this music is being played in a church.