Sierra Chamber Society Program Notes

Jacques Ibert (1890-1962)

"I want to be free- independent of the prejudices which arbitrarily divide the defenders of a certain tradition and the partisans of a certain Avant-garde"

Jacques Ibert

Trois Pieces Breves for Woodwind Quintet (1930)

A Parisian by birth, Jacques Ibert attended the Paris Conservatory from 1911 to 1919,where he was a composition student of Gabriel Faure. In 1919 he won the coveted Prix de Rome with his cantata Le Poete et la Fee. While in Rome, he wrote his first important compositions; the symphonic poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol, and the orchestral suite Escales (Ports of Call), a colorful work which has remained a part of the orchestral repertory. From 1937 to 1955 Ibert served as Director of the Academie de France in Rome, the first musician ever to hold that post. After World War II, he became Assistant Director of the Paris Opera, and from 1955 to 1957, was Director of the combined management of the Paris Opera and the Opera-Comique.

Ibert’s music combines the Impressionist techniques of Debussy and Ravel, with the Neo-classicism of Stravinsky and Le Six, producing works marked by clarity, grace and wit. Of his work, Andre George has written; "In whatever Jacques Ibert presents to his hearers, there is clarity and good quality, an impression of work well done... There is about his music, as about his person, an air of good fellowship that shows the artist of breeding. He pleases without trifling. His music is always found to reflect his apt sense of color and his gift for contriving these iridescent effects which are so striking a feature of his work". His catalogue of works include operas, ballets, incidental radio and film music as well as choral, orchestral, piano, vocal and chamber music. Perhaps his most often heard works are Escales (1922) and two works composed in 1930, Divertissment for orchestra, and the Trois Pieces Breves for Woodwind Quintet.

Scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon, these three short pieces consist of two lively romps flanking a twenty-six measure movement, a duet for clarinet and bassoon, except for the final few measures; reminiscent of a Bach Two-Part Invention. Breve, nes pas?

1997-98 Season, Program II, Sunday December 14, 1997

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All original text on this page Copyright 1997 by Joseph Way