The annual concours, or examens de fin d’année, of the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP) is a centuries-old tradition that began in 1797. It serves to determine each participating student’s readiness for graduation. For…
The annual concours, or examens de fin d’année, of the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP) is a centuries-old tradition that began in 1797. It serves to determine each participating student’s readiness for graduation. For each competition from 1797-1999, specific pieces were assigned for each instrument. Through much of the nineteenth century, conservatory professors wrote these pieces for their students. In the twentieth century, the practice of assigning works previously written by other composers or commissioning new works by (usually) French composers became the norm. Oboists outside of France tend to associate terms such as “conservatory pieces” or “concours pieces” with pieces assigned during the nineteenth century, while generally overlooking twentieth century morceaux de concours. The purpose of this paper is to bring these forgotten pieces to light and provide background information to help oboists determine the suitability of these pieces for their own performance contexts.
Because research regarding the pieces selected during Professor Georges Gillet’s tenure (1882-1919) is already available, this paper focuses on the pieces selected from 1920-1999. A list of required pieces for oboe from 1824-2000, obtained from CNSMDP archive manager Sophie Lévy, made possible the compilation of an annotated bibliography of morceaux de concours for oboe from 1920-1999. (The annotated bibliography ends with the 1999 concours because, since 2000, oboists have been required to select their own programs.) The bibliography lists every piece that was performed, but only gives detailed descriptions of (1) twentieth century pieces that were specifically commissioned for the concours and (2) twentieth century pieces selected, but not specifically commissioned, for the concours, that are not considered to be part of the standard oboe repertoire. A brief description of trends observed within this set of contest pieces follows the bibliography, along with appendices intended to facilitate more productive use of the bibliography.