Romans des Rois-OB/HN/PN
Composer: Griebling-Haigh, Margaret
Publisher: Jeanne Inc.
for oboe, horn, and piano
by Margaret Griebling-Haigh (b. 1960)- American composer
Romans des Rois is a three movement work written specifically to augment the particularly scanty repertoire of a lovely combination of instruments. The oboe and horn combine beautifully in so much of the orchestral repertoire, but have sadly been quite under-represented as partners, along with piano, in chamber music. The French title of the piece translates to mean "novels (or stories) of kings". Overall, the composer sought to capture the regal and expressive qualities of the horn and oboe. She intended the piece to be challenging and colorful, and yet enjoyable to perform and to hear.
The first movement, Rites, opens and closes with a declamatory duet between the two wind instruments, punctuated by short, sharp chords in the piano. The monarch is establishing his authority! There is much joyful music to follow, although the harmonies are sometimes tinged with sadness. The music then relaxes, before some capricious statements from the oboe eventually become more serious and foreboding, and lead up to the climactic ending. The second movement, Reves, is dreamier, as the title would suggest. After a free beginning, it eventually becomes a romantic but somewhat unsettled waltz before reverting to the nebulous tonality of the opening and then fading out - with a question mark! The piece ends with a lively movement entitled Rondes (rounds) which is imitative and dance-like, and yet still authoritative in nature. Respite from all this activity comes in the form of a misterioso section, with the piano in widely spread octaves at the extremes of its range. After the final recapitulation of the opening material, a grand coda in irregular meters is heard. The piece ends very much as it began, with strong statements in oboe and horn and those now-familiar accented chords in the piano.