I have a thing about woodwind instruments. If I believed in reincarnation I think I would want to come back as a flute. But only as one particular flute played by a particular person.
The concert I went to at the House of Radio France was all about woodwind instruments in the works Francis Poulenc (1899-1963). It was a family concert at 11 o’clock on a Saturday morning, with lots of children but also numerous adults in the audience.
Since I knew very little about Poulenc this was quite educational for me as I’m sure it was for the children, and it also cleared up any doubts I might have had about what the instruments are called in French. The oboe is an hautbois (literally “high wood”), which is no doubt the source of the English and German word oboe, and a horn is a cor, otherwise no surprises. The musicians were members of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France, and the concert was recorded for broadcast on France Musique the following week.
By coincidence I had attended a similar concert earlier the same year in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. At the hr studios I ran into Holger Falk, who asked me if I was on my way to the Large Broadcast Hall. I said no, and asked what was going on there. “I’m singing there,” he said, and he smuggled me in. It turned out to be an hr-Domino children’s concert with singers personifying different instruments. Holger was a proud Spanish torero representing the trumpet. Both of these concerts, in Frankfurt and in Paris, were highly entertaining and musically first-rate, in addition to being educational.
My photos in this post are from 2006. I revised the text in 2018.
See also: Paris from a tethered balloon