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Name of Work

Bohme, Oskar (1870-1938)
Sextet for Brass in E-Flat Minor, Op. 30 (2008)

Movements:
Adagio ma non tanto — Allegro molto
Scherzo: Allegro vivace
Andante cantabile
Allegro con spirito

Performances:


Nov 16, 2008



Charles Geyer, Cornet
Barbara Butler, Trumpet
Christopher Martin, Trumpet
Gail Williams, Horn
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Randall Montgomery, Tuba


Nov 17, 2008



Charles Geyer, Cornet
Barbara Butler, Trumpet
Christopher Martin, Trumpet
Gail Williams, Horn
Michael Mulcahy, Trombone
Randall Montgomery, Tuba

BÖHME-Sextet for Brass in E-flat minor, Op. 30

Composed in 1906

BACKGROUND
Composer and trumpeter Oskar Böhme was born in Dresden on February 24, 1870 and graduated from the distinguished Leipzig Conservatory when he was just eighteen. He toured Europe as a trumpet player while still in his teens before emigrating to St. Petersburg, where he was engaged as a member of the Imperial Theater Orchestra in 1889. From 1901 to 1922, he was principal trumpet with the St. Petersburg Maryinsky Theater, and acquired a reputation as a teacher and cornet virtuoso. Between 1922 and 1930, he worked as a free-lance trumpeter in various orchestras, and additionally served on the faculty of the Vasileostrovsk College of Music in Leningrad. From 1930 to 1934, he performed with the orchestra of the Maxim Gorky Theater in Leningrad, and in 1936 became a teacher at the Academy of Music in Tchkalov, where he died on October 23, 1938. All of Böhme’s works are for trumpet and brass instruments. In addition to a sizeable body of pedagogical studies and recital pieces for trumpet and piano, he wrote a Trumpet Concerto in 1899, the first such work since Hummel’s in 1803 and the only one from the Romantic era, and a Sextet in E-flat minor for Brass in 1906.

MUSIC
Böhme’s Sextet is an imposing work in its scale, sonority and formal, textural and harmonic sophistication, a virtual symphony for brass. It opens with a somber introduction in chordal texture that serves as preface to the main theme, a wide-ranging melody given in imitation. It becomes clear during the closely worked transition passage that Böhme set challenges of technique and ensemble in this work that reflect the virtuosic capacities of his own playing. The second subject is a lyrical variant of the main theme, given in close harmonies by the trumpets and horn. The development section is largely based on an arpeggiated motive derived from the main theme. A passage of soft pulsating chords leads to the recapitulation. The Scherzo serves as an expressive foil to the preceding music with its genial key and bounding syncopated rhythms; the central trio superimposes a long-limbed melody upon flowing ribbons of scales in the accompaniment.

The last two movements are unusual and inventive in their formal progressions. The Andante begins with a plaintive theme in the home key and then works itself through episodes of varying intensity before arriving at a heroic, major-mode proclamation of the opening theme. A sudden quiet then overtakes the music, which lapses back into the sad harmonies of the opening for its closing measures. The finale likewise modulates from minor to major during its course, but retains the brighter tonality until the end. The movement’s structure is an adaptation of rondo, but the reiterations of its vigorous, 6/8 meter theme occur not in the home tonality but in a variety of keys.

Program notes by Dr. Richard E. Rodda

Performance dates: November 16 & 17, 2008

CCM first performed this work at the February 3, 2002 subscription concert at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall.



Performance Audio

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