L'heure du berger

From Wind Repertory Project
Jean Françaix

Jean Françaix

General Info

Year: 1947 / 1972
Duration: c. 7:45
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Schott
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - €19.95


1. Vieux Beaux – 2:10
2. Pin-up Girls – 2:15
3. Les Petits Nerveux – 3:15


Full Score
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
Horn in F


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

L'heure de berger is actually three brief character sketches of Parisian café life. Françaix wrote the piece in 1947, the story goes, for a Paris restaurant to use in the background as its customers dined. Françaix wrote what he called la musique sérieuse sans gravité (serious music without weight), providing witty, accurate descriptions in sound of three types of people seen while at the café.

The first movement is Les vieux beaux (The Old Dandies). The piano plays a jaunty accompaniment for the woodwinds' ironic, gliding sighs, as if the dandies are remembering the good old days. A quicker central section breaks into gossipy sixteenth notes between the flute and bassoon, with the occasional butting in of the horn, but the sighs return: those days are gone. In the second movement, the clarinet describes the teasing Pin-Up Girls in delightful arpeggios while the flute, oboe, horn, and bassoon parade around and the piano is silent.

The set ends with Les petits nerveux (Nervous Children). All the instruments skitter around, their melody lines moving against each other. The trio section finds them better organized, with the flute and oboe playing offbeat, against the others. The opening section is repeated, followed by a coda wherein the nervous excitement builds to an inevitable collapse.

- Program Note by Patsy Morita

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by This Composer