Issue de quelques phalanges prestigieuses (Orchestre des jeunes Gustav Mahler, NDR de Hambourg, SWR de Stuttgart) la jeune hautboïste Cécile Moinet entame depuis peu une carrière de soliste. Pour ce programme comprenant les trois concertos de Bach et celui de Marcello, elle a rejoint L'Arte del Mondo. On retrouve sous la baguette avisée d'Ehrhart une équipe bien rodée au répertoire baroque, attentive aux dynamiques (enlevées), aux timbres (chatoyants) et à l'équilibre général. Les attaques sont impeccables, les phrasés veloutés. Au centre de ce superbe écrin, Cécile Moinet déploie elle aussi des merveilles de phrasés (malgré un instrument curieusement surexposé par la prise de son) et quelques délicates ornementations de son cru. Les mouvements allants et virtuoses lui conviennent mieux que les lents où parfois l'âme de la musique peine à s'incarner. Brillant et léger, le Concerto de Marcello passe comme neige au soleil. En bonus : deux Sinfonias de cantates qui, aussi agréables soient-elles à écouter, n'ajoutent rien au mérite de cette remarquable hautboïste ni à la réussite de son disque. (Jérôme Angouillant)
What made her decide to be an oboist, Céline Moinet is often asked. It had to be woodwind. Not brass, not a string instrument, not the piano. “I began with the recorder in the usual way. Until I switched to the oboe when I was seven, I didn’t know the instrument at all.” Her parents did not influence her in any way. “Even today I find that the oboe is hardly known. Maybe that’s because it is very complex,” says the French artist. When Johann Sebastian Bach was alive, the instrument was much in favour at princely courts and in church music. The sacred and secular repertoire that has been preserved in many places across Europe, not least in the central German region of Saxony and Thuringia, proves that beyond doubt. “Bach’s cantatas were where it began for me. They are a rich, challenging source of music for oboists, ultimately the essence of his oeuvre. You can see the oboe as a narrator in his works.” On her new CD, Céline Moinet links cantata movements with concertos that pose a special challenge of their own: “technically virtuosic, with simply unending passages of elaboration, giving you scarcely a chance to breathe.” She is thinking of pieces like the D minor Concerto BWV 1059 reconstructed from surviving fragments. It places formidable technical and physical demands upon oboists. Bach takes more time than most other composers, of that Céline Moinet is convinced. Céline was just a girl when she first heard the Marcello concerto, with its famous second movement in the arrangement by Bach. It was a long held wish of hers to play the concerto herself. “I connect strong childhood memories with it.” It is her fourth CD and the first that the solo oboist of the Dresden Staatskapelle has recorded with orchestra. The question of the accompaniment exercised her mind at an early stage. She had to consider such issues as these: “What makes better sense for me, what does the music call for? Werner Erhardt, director of the orchestra l’arte del mondo, spent a long time working on the programme with me. He contributed a lot of useful suggestions. We gradually converged,” recalls Céline Moinet in describing the development of an interpretation, a process that convinced her of one thing: “Bach is the most difficult. Maybe I shall play him differently in 20 years’ time. The view I take now is a stage in the story of my life. It shows my strengths, as well as my doubts, my continuing search.” She is familiar with the business of making a recording, but even here, Bach is different. “When you play this music, it takes you to limits you were unaware of,” says Céline Moinet. It constantly prompts new decisions about performance practice, particularly about ornamentation. The l’arte del mondo orchestra works with Baroque bows, oriented on the historical practice. “We think our style of playing has brought us very close to Bach.” In the opening Sinfonia to the cantata “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” BWV 12, dating from Bach’s Weimar period, the oboe engages in a passage of moving eloquence. The four words of the title reveal their meaning in the pictures painted by the music. The oboist sees another example of such consummate musical rhetoric in “Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis” BWV 21: “In this cantata, Bach attains an intensity and a dramatic momentum that recalls his great works.” Bach’s oeuvre is rich in interrelationships. Concerto movements are introduced into cantatas and vice versa. Bach often rewrote concertos and had no difficulty in adapting them for new solo instruments, depending on the demand, as was the case with his Collegium Musicum in Leipzig, which he directed from 1729. The process of gestation is generally difficult to reconstitute, and that is the case with the F major Concerto BWV 1053a. We are familiar with it today as the E major Harpsichord Concerto BWV 1053, but it may originally have been written for oboe or oboe d’amore. The slow middle movement corresponds to the aria “Stirb in mir, Welt” from the cantata BWV 169. Céline Moinet is delighted by this Siciliano “on account of the contrast in mood between the lyrical oboe and the sorrowful chords in the orchestra.” The A major Concerto BWV 1055, which must first have been composed for oboe d’amore and later adapted for harpsichord, provides a new angle on Bach’s work. “Bach made wonderful use in many of his cantatas of the oboe d’amore and its warm, dark tone. Here it sparkles in a lively piece that is characteristic of the instrument.” Céline Moinet took up her present position as solo oboist in 2008. She has been a professor at the Dresden College of Music since 2013. In addition, she pursues projects such as the present series. How can everything be coordinated and still leave room for private life? “Planning is necessary, of course. But everything is linked, one thing provides the impulse for the next, they cross-fertilize one another. Routine has no place in our profession. After studying, auditioning, entering competitions, I have entered a quieter period in my life. The time has come to look at things in depth. That is the value of solo projects.” Prof. Moinet has also initiated an oboe festival at her College of Music. She is looking for an exchange of views. “I scarcely sense it as a burden because I enjoy it so much.” All the same, she feels she should limit herself. Céline Moinet does not take long breaks. Two weeks in the summer are her maximum, she says, but even they do not always relax her, “because it isn’t a straightforward matter to break your rhythm.” She really prefers sticking at something, which fits in with her love of sporting activity, like the half-marathon. That clears her head. She spends a lot of time studying scores, reading the literature and recording. “It enriches me. Bach is the most human encounter that I have experienced in music. His music instils confidence. This is music in which I aim to soften the hardness of the modern oboe and introduce dark, mellow tones.” Céline Moinet is an exclusive artist for the oboe and cor anglais with Marigaux of Paris. “Even as a child, I played on a Marigaux instrument. The best thing about it is its flexibility, its warmth of sound.” She knows the special richness of a Baroque oboe, has played one herself and appreciates the particular playing technique. “My own oboe though, the one I play day after day, in concerts, in the opera, is like a companion to me, almost a part of my body. It is an instrument on which I can do anything,” explains the artist, as she talks of her commitment to her instrument in this latest Bach project. “After all, they are always reconstructions.” Céline Moinet feels very happy with her high register. She likes its special brilliance. “That is due to my physical constitution, my aptitude for the soprano voice.” It is not easy to realize it, becaue the conical bore of the oboe makes the sound of the instrument thinner the higher it goes. “I am continually fighting against the nature of the instrument.” The double reed is another reason why the production of sound is so complex. A slip of material about one centimetre long in one’s month must suffice to create resonance. The reed opening is quite tiny, “almost paradoxical given the size of the instrument”. Céline Moinet could tell us much more about her music and her relationship with her instrument. Why, then, did she choose the oboe? “My playing really says a lot about my love of the instrument, its sound, its sentimental nature and singing tone.” Yes, her new CD offers a convincing answer to this question.