Althea Talbot-Howard
Oboe, Oboe d'Amore & Cor Anglais Soloist

Althea Talbot-Howard & Dominic Saunders
Oboe & Piano Duo & Programmes

Programming Philosophy | Lunchtime Programmes | Evening Programmes | Bespoke Programmes | Dominic Saunders

One of Althea's principal interests as a musician is recital programming. Here she presents original and carefully-researched recitals aimed at adding value to your concert series. As promoters you are invited to choose between set recital programmes or bespoke recitals tailored to your individual requirements. Each set programme is presented with information concerning forthcoming composer anniversaries and a description of the pieces and any theme. In addition, each programme has a link to either the Sound Samples or Video pages so that you can further acquaint yourself with some of the music. If none of the set recitals meets your requirements, then a bespoke recital might be preferable for you.

Althea's duo partner is the pianist Dominic Saunders. To read his biography, please click here.

Programming Philosophy

Each set programme has been carefully planned in order to achieve the following objectives:

Set Programmes

Lunchtime Recitals are primarily non-thematic recitals in which the focus is variety. Each recital features music for at least two of the three oboes. The concerts are of varying lengths, from 40-55 minutes in total, including introductions, and will not include an encore.

Lunchtime Programmes 2010 - 2014

Lunchtime Programme 1

for Oboe, Cor Anglais & Piano (duration: 40-42 minutes)

Anniversaries
2010 R. Schumann 200 years (b. 1810)
2012 C. Debussy 150 years (b. 1862)
Living Composers
Henri Dutilleux

In this programme, two examples of Schumann's mature chamber music - the delightfully reflective Abendlied, arranged by Schumann's friend, violinist Joseph Joachim, and the dynamic and exciting Adagio and Allegro, originally composed for horn and piano - are contrasted with music by French composers. The first two works were composed for Paris Conservatoire graduating competitions. The solo by Colin is an excellent example of the C19 salon style, whilst the second piece, by living composer Henri Dutilleux, is the most important oboe sonata of the first half of the C20. These two works can be viewed on the Video page. The transition between the first and second halves of the programme is mediated by Debussy's famous and marvellously atmospheric work for solo piano, La Cathédrale engloutie.

Charles Colin (1832-1881) Premier Solo de Concours (1868) (6)

Henri Dutilleux (b.1916) Sonata (1947) (12)

Claude Debussy (1862-1918) La Cathédrale engloutie from Préludes Book 1 for piano solo (7)

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Abendlied for cor anglais & piano (3)

Robert Schumann Adagio and Allegro (1849) for cor anglais & piano (9)

 

Lunchtime Programme 2

for Oboe, Oboe d'Amore & Piano (duration: 50-52 minutes)

Anniversaries
2010 R. Schumann 200 years (b. 1810)
2010 F. Chopin 200 years (b. 1810)
Living Composer with Anniversary
2013 David Matthews, UK (b. 1943 - 70th birthday)

In this programme, we again explore renowned chamber music by Robert Schumann, but this time in relation to that of his contemporary, Frédéric Chopin, in tandem with music by C20 composers. The concert commences with Schumann's beautiful Three Romances for oboe & piano, an excerpt of which can be heard on the Sound Samples page, and returns to Schumann via his Three Fantasy Pieces for solo piano. It concludes with a little-known but fascinating piece by the famous C19 virtuoso French oboist and composer C.-T. Lalliet who was, like Chopin, of part-Polish descent. In this lovely fantasy for oboe d'amore, which can be viewed on the Video page, he explores many of the famous themes from some of Chopin's piano music. In between the C19 items come Bartók's three short pieces, which are wonderfully evocative explorations of his concern with folk music, and David Matthews' lively work paying tribute to the early C20 American boogie-woogie blues pianist, Montana Taylor.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Three Romances Op.94 (1849) (12)

Béla Bartók (1881-1945) An Evening in the Village,
Three Folksongs from the County of Csisk & Bagpipers (9)

Robert Schumann Drei Fantasiestücke Op. 111 for solo piano (10)

David Matthews (b.1943) Montana Taylor's Blues (1993) (5)

C.-T. Lalliet (1837-1892) Fantasia on Themes by Chopin Op.31
for oboe d'amore & piano (10)

 

Lunchtime Programme 3 ~ Music from Britain and Austria-Hungary

for Oboe, Cor Anglais & Piano (duration: 55 minutes)
Related Programme: Evening Programme 4

Anniversaries
2011 F. Lizst 200 years (b. 1811)
2013 B. Britten 100 years (b. 1913)

Annexed by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1526, the kingdom of Bohemia (comprising today of the Czech Republic and parts of Germany) has had a major impact on classical music. Bohemian-born J.W. Kalliwoda was one of the most esteemed and successful musicians active in Germany, who numbered no less a composer than Schumann amongst his many admirers. Morceau de Salon is one of two excellent original compositions for the oboe written by this virtuoso violinist and composer. Paul Patterson's Duologue, full of strong rhythmic drive and tonal colour, forms part of the remarkable flowering in the oboe repertoire in the 1980s and 90s which took place courtesy of several British composers. Duologue presents a stimulating contrast with Britten's lyrical work for solo oboe, Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, which was written just over 20 years earlier. The two pieces are separated by the Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Lizst's Les Jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este, and the concert concludes with the winsomely joyful operatic scene by Bohemian composer Anton Reicha, who, like Kalliwoda, spent much of his professional life in exile, but in this case in Paris. Scène represents one of the earliest original solo compositions for the cor anglais, and it can be viewed on the Video page.

J. W. Kalliwoda (1801-1866) Morceau de Salon Op. 228 (8)

Paul Patterson (b.1947) Duologue (1985) (13)

Franz Lizst (1811-1886) Les Jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este for solo piano (7)

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for oboe solo (14)

Anton Reicha (1770-1836) Scène (1811) for cor anglais & piano (7)

 

Evening Recitals present an excellent opportunity to explore musical themes in greater depth. Each recital contains two halves of 40-45 minutes including introductions, and includes either two or three oboes with piano as the constraints of the theme permit.

Evening Programmes 2010 - 2014

Evening Programme 1 ~ Music in Paris

for Oboe, Oboe d'Amore, Cor Anglais & Piano

Anniversaries
2010 F. Chopin 200 years (b. 1810)
2011 E. Carter 70th anniversary of 'Pastoral' (1941)
2012 C. Debussy 150 years (b. 1862)
2012 F. Poulenc 50th anniversary of the Oboe Sonata (1962)
2013 F. Poulenc 50 years (d. 1963)
Living Composers
Elliott Carter (USA)
Henri Dutilleux (Fr)
Jean-Louis Petit (Fr)

For much of the last millennium, Paris was one of the world's principal cultural centres and a formidable rival to cities such as Vienna and Venice. Like those cities, it has been as much a magnet to musical emigrants and visitors as it has given birth to its own musical celebrities. In this programme, we explore the music of both native and naturalized Parisians. Interesting features include the lively Impromptu by one of France's most successful female composers, Claude Arrieu, Elliott Carter's tuneful, intricate and evocative Pastoral for cor anglais and piano, written shortly after he had completed his studies in the 1930s with Nadia Boulanger, and Enescu's extraordinary Carillon nocturne for solo piano. Performances of the Colin, Dutilleux, Petit, Lalliet, Carter and Reicha can all be viewed on the Video page.

Charles Colin (1832-1881) Premier Solo de Concours (1868) (6)

Henri Dutilleux (b.1916) Sonata (1947) (12)

Jean-Louis Petit (b.1937) Sonatine (2006) (3)
OR Claude Arrieu (1903-1990) Impromptu (1954) (3)

Georges Enescu (1881-1955) Carillon nocturne (from Suite no.3 op.18) for solo piano (7)

C.-T. Lalliet (1837-1892) Fantasia on Themes by Chopin Op.31 for oboe d'amore & piano (10)

Interval

Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) Sonata (1962) (12)

Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) Nocturne no.8 Op.27/2 for solo piano (7)

2010-2012 Elliott Carter (b.1908) Pastoral (1941) for cor anglais & piano (10)
OR (in 2012-2014) Claude Debussy (1862-1918) Rhapsody (1903) for cor anglais & piano (9)

Anton Reicha (1770-1836) Scène (1811) for cor anglais & piano (7)

 

Evening Programme 2 ~ Chiaroscuro
Music by Composers of the African Diaspora and their European Contemporaries

for Oboe, Oboe d'Amore & Piano

Anniversaries
2012 Samuel Coleridge-Taylor 100 years (died 1912); Eugène Goossens 50 years (d. 1962)
Living Composers
Jonathan Dove (UK)
Fred Onovwerosuoke (USA/Ghana/Nigeria)

Historical Introduction to the Programme
In this thematic programme, we explore the contrasts between the music of composers of African descent and their European contemporaries. Our earliest composer, Joseph Boulogne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, was a half-Guadelupean, half-French aristocrat who, as a violinist, composer and fencer, was the toast of late ancien regime France. Sometimes called 'Le Mozart noir', St.-Georges was also the contemporary of Haydn, and in his role as principal conductor of the orchestra at the Palais-Royal, commissioned and gave the world première of Haydn's six 'Paris' Symphonies. Dating from around 1772, the Sonata in Eb was originally written for flute and harp. It is tuneful and delicate in texture, and a very pleasing example of the early Classical style.

Paired in this programme with Maurice Ravel, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the son of an English mother and a Sierra Leonean father, trained in violin and composition at the Royal College of Music. During the Edwardian period he undertook three very successful tours to the USA, familiarised himself with traditional American spirituals - such as the famous melody, Deep River - incorporated many of their elements into his music, and inspired a new generation of African-American composers, of whom William Grant Still was one. A highly successful composer and oboist, Still was trained in the German tradition, but was influenced both by jazz and African-American tradtional music. He enjoyed a good working relationship with the British principal conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Eugène Goossens, and was one of twenty composers commissioned by Goossens to write fanfares in aid of the Second World War effort, the most famous of which is Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man.

Three composers representing the end of the twentieth century all incorporate elements of tonal minimalism into their work. The tuneful and gentle Ogbe Nkwa by the late Nigerian composer, Joshua Uzoigwe, is contrasted with two more energetic dance movements by Fred Onovwerosuoke and Jonathan Dove. The arrogant strutting of a west African village's dominant cockerel makes a strong contrast to the lilting dancing of an Irish fairy mistress - the Lennanshee. A short extract from Music for a Lovelorn Lennanshee is available on the Sound Samples page.

W.A. Mozart (1756-1791) Sonata in F K.370 (after the Oboe Quartet) (1781)
arr. Salomon/L.Goossens (15)

William Grant Still (1895-1978) Incantation and Dance (1945) (6)

J. Haydn (1732-1809) Adagio in F Hob.XVII no. 9 for solo piano (6)

Sir Eugène Goossens (1893-1962) Concerto in One Movement Op. 45 (1927) (12)

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) Deep River arr. Maud Powell (1905/1910) (5)

Interval

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) Pièce en forme de Habenera (1926) (3)

Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges (1745-1799) Sonata in Eb (c.1770) (12)
for oboe d'amore & piano

J. Haydn (1732-1809) Fantasia in C Hob.XVII no. 4 for solo piano (6)

Joshua Uzoigwe (1946-2005) Ogbe Nkwa (1995) (3)

Fred Onovwerosuoke (b. 1960) The Rooster's Dance (2008) (3)

Jonathan Dove (b. 1959) Music for a Lovelorn Lennanshee (1993) (10)

 

Evening Programme 3 ~ Opera Fantasia, Opera Fantastica!

for Oboe, Cor Anglais & Piano

Anniversaries
2010 R. Schumann 200 years (b. 1810)
2011 F. Lizst 200 years (b. 1811); F. Reizenstein 100 years (b. 1911)
2013 B. Britten 100 years (b. 1913); P. Hindemith 50 years (d. 1963)

The first half of this programme begins sedately in the concert hall, and focuses on some of the most accomplished duo recital music by German and British composers in the oboe and piano repertoire. Robert Schumann's famous Three Romances, which can be heard on the Sound Samples page, is followed by three short pieces by British immigrant composer Franz Reizenstein, a former pupil of Hindemith, who as a pianist gave the British première of Hindemith's cor anglais sonata, recorded live on the BBC, seventy years ago in 1941. In 2012-2014, Benjamin Britten's Temporal Variations, a study in the futility of propaganda and war, will replace the Reizenstein pieces and be paired with Hindemith's oboe sonata. Both Hindemith sonatas are fully representative of his genius, but the little-known cor anglais sonata is regarded by some as perhaps his finest piece of chamber music. An excerpt from this piece is available on the Sound Samples page.

The second half of the programme moves across to the opera house, and is dedicated to opera fantasias and instrumental music by opera composers. Beethoven's formal set of theme and variations on Don Giovanni is contrasted with the characteristically freer fantasia treatment of themes from Verdi's Masked Ball by the Italian virtuoso oboist, Antonino Pasculli. This piece commences with Verdi's famously haunting cor anglais solo. A rare piece of instrumental by Donizetti, the delightful and brief Andante is followed by the second of two solo piano pieces by Lizst: a typically virtuosic concert paraphrase on Rigoletto.

Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Three Romances Op.94 (1849)

2010-2012 Franz Reizenstein (1911-1968) Three Concert Pieces (1947)
2012-2014 Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Temporal Variations (1936)

Franz Lizst (1811-1886) Les Jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este for solo piano

2010-2012 Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) Sonate (1941) for cor anglais & piano
2012-2014 Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) Sonate (1938) for oboe & piano

Interval

L. van Beethoven (1770-1827) Variations on "Là Ci Darem le Mano" from Mozart's Don Giovanni

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848) Andante in F

Franz Lizst Concert Paraphrase on Verdi's Rigoletto for solo piano

Antonino Pasculli (1842-1924) Amelia: Fantasia on Verdi's Un Ballo in Maschera
for cor anglais & piano

 

Evening Programme 4 ~ Music from Britain and Eastern Europe

for Oboe, Oboe d'Amore, Cor Anglais & Piano

Anniversaries
2010 F. Chopin 200 years (b. 1810)
2012 E.Goossens 50 years (d. 1962)
2013 B. Britten 100 years (b. 1913)

This programme represents a companion programme to Lunchtime Programme 3, and contains an extended focus on the music of Frédéric Chopin contrasted with three major British C20 works. After Kalliwoda's jolly introduction, we hear Eugène Goossens' brilliant Concerto in One Movement in its oboe and piano version prepared by the composer for its first performance by himself and his brother, renowned oboist Leon Goossens, in New York in 1927. The second British piece is Britten's Temporal Variations, a haunting exploration of the political instability of the 1930s as a world moved towards war, and the third is Bennett's important serial work paying tribute to Debussy, After Syrinx I. The concert concludes with more Chopin for solo piano and oboe d'amore with piano, followed by Reicha's exuberant operatic scene, which always sends people home with a smile on their faces. The Lalliet-Chopin and Reicha pieces can be viewed on the Video page.

J. W. Kalliwoda (1801-1866) Morceau de Salon Op. 228 (8)

Sir Eugène Goossens (1893-1962) Concerto in One Movement Op. 45 (1927) (12)

F. Chopin (1810-1848) Waltz in A-minor op.34/2 (5)

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Temporal Variations (1936) (13)

Interval

Richard Rodney Bennett (b. 1936) After Syrinx I (1982) (12)

F. Chopin (1810-1848) Fantaisie Impromptu Op.66 (5)

C.-T. Lalliet (1837-1892) Fantasia on Themes by Chopin Op.31
for oboe d'amore & piano (10)

Anton Reicha (1770-1836) Scène (1811) for cor anglais & piano (7)

 

Bespoke Programmes

Please contact Althea to discuss your requirements, or to discuss any amendments to set programmes.

 

Dominic Saunders, piano

Dominic SaundersDominic Saunders read music initially at York University, winning the Wilfrid Mellers Prize and graduating with first-class honours. He then attended the Royal Academy of Music in London, with the Lloyds Bank Scholarship, where he won numerous prizes. Since then he has gained increasing recognition for his work as soloist, accompanist and ensemble player in a wide range of styles, playing at the Proms and all the main London venues, all over the UK and Europe, and in the USA and the Caribbean. His first appearance at the Carnegie Hall in New York was in 2002.

Dominic was a founder member of Jane's Minstrels, the instrumental ensemble set up by Jane Manning. He is also the pianist with Icebreaker and Lontano and has played with other ensembles such as the London Sinfonietta and Endymion. Contemporary music is a special priority and he has premiered the works of numerous composers. Recent commercial recordings have included a disc of chamber music by the Scottish composer Ed McGuire which was selected as a CD of the month in Gramophone magazine. Concerts in the last year have included appearances at the London's South Bank and at the Lincoln Centre in New York. He enjoys teaching, and has also written on music for the Guardian newspaper.