For decades, each year the Paris Conservatoire hosted a public Concours, or competition, that acted as the final examination for the students. In order to graduate, the student was expected to attain First Prize (Premier prix). For each competition, a solo work was commissioned – that is, written expressly for the occasion – or selected from previous years’ repertoire in order to test all facets of a students’ playing, from technical prowess to musical interpretation. For years, this process generated a large body of repertoire that is both pedagogically significant and artistically rewarding. Despite the merit and beauty of this music, very few pieces have been commercially or professionally recorded, and even fewer by American oboists. For the majority of the works on this album, these are the first recordings.
These ten works were selected to represent a variety of time periods and musical styles within the Concours repertoire. In particular, it is of note that the Solo pour hautbois by Emile Paldihle was the piece Marcel Tabuteau performed for admission into the Paris Conservatoire, and Légende by Louis Diémer, the work for which he obtained the Premier Prix. As a set, these compositions offer deeply compelling musical narratives as well as innumerable opportunities to showcase technical prowess. This album was recorded with support from the University of Kentucky Summer Research Fellowship and the University of Kentucky Research Enhancement Grant. ToniMarie Marchioni plays F. Lorée Royal oboes.
Produced and recorded by Konrad Strauss of the Audio Engineering and Sound Production Department.