Three French Encore Pieces by Mel Bonis, Louise Farrenc and Camille Saint-Saens
Arranged for Wind Quintet by Peter Merry
Instrumentation: flute, clarinet, oboe, horn, bassoon
Score and parts
I. Melodie by Louise Farrenc
II. Pavane by Mel Bonis
III. Menuet, Op56 by Camille Saint-Saens
Louis Farrenc was a virtuoso pianist who studied piano with Clementi and Hummel and composition with Reicha. She taught piano at the Paris Convervatoire where she was an early champion of equal pay for women. Her piano works were much admired by Schumann and her chamber music was widely played in her lifetime. Despite little contemporaneous interest in her three symphonies, they are now receiving regular performances to great acclaim.
Mel Bonis studied the piano and composition under Cesar Frank at the Paris Conservatoire. It was there that she changed her name from Mélanie to a more androgynous Mel to avoid the prejudice that women composers encountered at that time. After many years of unhappy domesticity, she returned to composition in her forties with great success and produced some 300 pieces in various genres. This arrangement is of one of her piano duets in the antique style.
An infant prodigy, often compared with the young Mozart, Saint-Saëns went on to study piano, organ and composition at the Paris Conservatoire. His early career was spent as a pianist and celebrated organist; Liszt considered him the finest organist in the world. His compositions were much admired by both Ravel and Faure who Saint-Saëns had taught and who considered him to be nothing less than a genius. Operas, symphonies, concertos, chamber music, songs and piano music were all part of his output. This Menuet, written in 1872, was originally for solo piano.