Pierre Onfroy de Bréville (1861-1949) was a French composer, teacher and critic and a friend of Franck, Debussy and Ravel. His music was elegantly crafted but has not been performed much since his death. His Sonatine for Oboe and Piano (1927) could be the sound track for an imaginary Parisian art exhibit. It first paints a jaunty tapestry of interwoven colors and textures in the spirit of Georges Seurat’s Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte*. The second movement seems like a serene interlude, perhaps contemplating one of Claude Monet’s paintings from his floating studio on the Seine. The final movement, Vite is a burst of kinetic exuberance in the spirit of a music hall poster by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
*Property of The Art Institute of Chicago. Featured in Sundays in the Park with George, a musical by Stephen Sondheim