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28 May 2024
Love is a Rebellious Bird: French Music for Oboe and Piano

Catherine Tanner-Williams (oboe)
Christopher Williams (piano)

French music for oboe and piano lies at the heart of the oboe repertoire. In this their third album, Catherine Tanner-Williams and Christopher Williams present the famous oboe sonatas of Saint-Saëns, Poulenc and Dutilleux alongside their own brand-new transcriptions of well-known arias from Bizet's Carmen, including the Habanera "L’amour est us oiseau rebelle” - Love is a rebellious bird. The oboe's vocal quality also shines in Brod's Fantasie on the Mad Scene from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and Ravel's Pièce en forme de Habanera. The disc includes the neglected Fantasies of Henri Dallier and Blai (Blas) Maria Colomer, and world premiere recordings of the Nocturne and Impromptu by Louise-Marie Simon, (who wrote under the pseudonym Claude Arrieu).


Georges Bizet transcr. Catherine Tanner-Williams & Christopher Williams: Habanera "L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" (Carmen)

Georges Bizet transcr. Catherine Tanner-Williams & Christopher Williams: Seguidilla and Duet (Carmen)

Georges Bizet transcr. Catherine Tanner-Williams & Christopher Williams: Micaela's Aria (Carmen)

Henri Brod: Fantasie on the Mad Scene from Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, Op. 57

Blai (Blas) Maria Colomer: Fantasie

Henri Dallier: Fantaisie Caprice

Henri Dutilleux: Oboe Sonata

I. Aria. Grave

II. Scherzo. Vif

III. Final. Assez allant

Francis Poulenc: Oboe Sonata, FP 185

I. Élégie. Paisiblement

II. Scherzo. Très animé

III. Déploration. Très calme


Maurice Ravel: Pièce en forme de Habanera

Camille Saint-Saëns: Oboe Sonata in D major, Op. 166

I. Andantino

II. Allegretto

III. Molto allegro


Louise-Marie Simon (Claude Arrieu): Nocturne

Louise-Marie Simon (Claude Arrieu): Impromptu

Recorded in Wyastone Concert Hall, Wyastone Leys, UK on 3rd & 4th September 2022
Cover Design & Photography: Catherine Tanner-Williams
Booklet Design: Willowhayne Records Recording Engineering, Production & Editing: Jim Unwin
Total Time: 79:54
Release Date: February 2023

Catherine Tanner-Williams (oboe)

Cornish oboist Catherine Tanner Williams studied Music at Cardiff University, where she gave the premiere of Anthony Power’s '...further in shadow...' for oboe and orchestra, and won an award from The Countess of Munster Musical Trust to study with Douglas Boyd and Sophia McKenna. It was at Cardiff University that she met her husband, the pianist Christopher Williams. They began playing together almost from the moment they met, and he accompanied her for her final degree recital, her ARCM (Performing) Diploma, and her final postgraduate recital at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (where her teachers included David Cowley and Celia Craig). In their 30 years as a couple and duo, they have performed recitals across the UK.

In 2018 they released their first disc of World Premiere recordings of transcriptions and pieces by Richard Strauss, Glinka and Mozart. "mature, with impressive depth and range" - The Musician.

Then in 2020 they released a disc of neglected British music; World Premiere recordings of Richard Elfyn Jones' Oboe Sonata, Catherine's own compositions, and the two sonatas by Arnold Cooke. "The ensemble playing between both players is extremely good...both musicians also shine individually...Catherine's singing oboe tone, good control of high notes and rich sounding lower register stand out...lovely natural and balanced concert hall feel" - Sarah Roper, Double Reed News

"This is one of those rarities, an oboe recital which is both uplifting and entertaining in addition to presenting some very good music" The Art Music Lounge.

Equally at home in many genres of music, her playing can also be heard in the "bewitching" track Requiem on the Three Colours Dark album - 'Love's Lost Property', and the Super Furry Animals album 'Fuzzy Logic'.

She is currently principal oboe of Orchestra De Cymru (with whom she recorded her own Oboe Concerto under Emmanuel Siffert), and has played principal oboe with many orchestras including Welsh Sinfonia, English Symphony Orchestra, Bath Philharmonia, Ensemble  Cambrica, Chamber Orchestra of Wales, Welsh Concert Orchestra, Festival Orchestra of Wales, Westward Chamber Orchestra, Burry Port Opera, St Woolos Sinfonia, Hereford Sinfonia, Cardiff Bach Orchestra (with whom she performed Bach’s Concerto for Oboe d’amore), and also freelanced with Cardiff Sinfonietta and BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

As well as her Oboe Concerto, other compositions include Darkness Falling, with Birdsong which she premiered with Chris in Cheltenham Town Hall; Hidden Birds, for trumpet and piano, premiered by Philippe Schartz and Christopher Williams in Columbus, Ohio at the International Trumpet Guild; and the piano piece Blue and White; Dreaming of Sleep premiered in St David’s Hall, Cardiff by her husband. 

Christopher Williams (piano)Born in Wales, Christopher Williams leads a busy and varied professional life as a pianist, composer, conductor, teacher and arranger. He is currently assistant director of the BBC National Chorus of Wales and is a pianist for the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, with whom he has performed at the BBC Proms and recorded for the Chandos and Hyperion labels. He is a staff accompanist at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and teaches piano at Cardiff University, following in the footsteps of his own teachers Martin Jones, Richard McMahon and Simon Shewring. His solo disc of Brahms/Klengel transcriptions for Naxos’ Grand Piano label was featured on NDR’s Kultur programme as one of their three discs of the week.

WHR080     View Booklet     UPC: 5060742690322

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