Johann Peter Pixis: Grand Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Op. 35 – Paul Dombrecht & Jos van Immerseel

– Composer: Johann Peter Pixis (10 February 1788 — 22 December 1874)
– Performers: Paul Dombrecht (oboe), Jos van Immerseel (piano)
– Year of recording: 1983

Gran(d) Sonata for Oboe and Piano, Op. 35, written in 1823.

00:00 – I. allegro moderato
08:48 – II. Romanze
15:25 – III. Rondo (Allegretto Vivace)

Within the (vast!) compositional output of German pianist/composer Pixis, we find a genre that was quite fashionable in the 19th century, “Salonmusik” utilized by (among others) Schumann and Chopin. This form, a portrait of the 19th century middle class, was characterized by a pronounced sentimental and lyrical tone that could be at once dreamily elegant or brilliant. The Grande Sonata Op. 35 for oboe and piano (originally for flute and piano) by Pixis is a good example of Salonmusik.

The writing for piano (the instrument of that century) reveals aspects of virtuosity, alongside the technical demands on the oboe. Pixis tried to bring the warmth and mellow qualities of the oboe to the fore in the ‘Romanze’ and in other lyrical sections. For a period oboe – which could be the 13-key Koch or Brod-Trièbert – the extension required is decidedly demanding: the lowest note is C#3 and the highest G5 “ad libitum”. Although this music may not be of the very highest quality, it does give a good insight in the popular musical life of the early 19th century.

The sonata is dedicated to Madame Katherine de Mosel.

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