Oboe Sonata

Oboe Sonata

Francis Poulenc

Céline Moinet's masterclasses

French 30 min Oboe

In this challenging oboe masterclass, Céline Moinet and Clement Le Têtu work towards playing powerfully and with meaning.

Produced by the Saline royale Academy in October, 2020 at Arc-et-Senans.

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The masterclass

About this oboe masterclass 

Céline Moinet and her student Clément Le Têtu work through the famously difficult oboe sonata by Francis Poulenc. 

In order to successfully perform this piece, Moinet stresses to her student the importance of delivering a high level of energy, presence, and character from beginning to end. Contrasts need to be emphasized, and mezzo-fortes and fortes need to be powerful.  

Moreover, the professor discusses tempo and the projection of sound. She instructs Clément to “sing” the notes and make them vibrate. Additionally, breathing deeply is also essential and attacks must be conscious and clear.  

A few things we learned 

  1. Playing powerfully.  

  2. Being mentally and physically invested in the narrative of the piece.  

  3. Some level of exaggeration is needed at times. 

  4. Breathing deeply is imperative.  

  5. Maintaining tempo.  

  • Student:Clement Le Tetu
  • Instruments: Oboe
  • Date:29 October 2020
  • Academy:Academy Oct 25 - Nov 1, 2020

Sheet music

Aim for excellence! You can improve your skills with expert advice. Download the annotated sheet music of this oboe masterclass. Please note that this piece has been annotated in accordance to Céline Moinet’s feedback and comments.

Céline Moinet

Céline Moinet

In 2006 she won first prizes for oboe and chamber music in the classes of David Walter and Maurice Bourgue.

Born in Lille in 1984, Céline Moinet studied the oboe and chamber music at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris in the classes of David Walter and Maurice Bourgue.


In 2006 she was awarded a Premier Prix in both disciplines. She also studied the Baroque oboe with Marcel Ponseele and Xenia Löffler. In 2004 and 2005 she completed her orchestral training as a member of the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester under the direction of Claudio Abbado.


After this experience, she was invited to appear as guest principal with leading German orchestras such as the NDR Sinfonieorchester Hamburg, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the SWR Radiosinfonieorchester Stuttgart, the Philharmoniker Hamburg, and the orchestra of the Frankfurt Opera. In 2006 she was appointed principal oboe of the Nationaltheater-Orchester Mannheim. Since June 2008 she has occupied the same position with the celebrated Staatskapelle Dresden. In the autumn of 2011, she was invited by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra to appear on an extended tour of Asia and Australia. Céline Moinet performs regularly in solo and chamber repertoire. She plays the major oboe concertos with the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Prague Philharmonia, the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic, the Kammerorchester Basel, and the Dresdner Kapellsolisten At the invitation of Fabio Luisi, she has given recitals and masterclasses at the Pacific Music Festival in Sapporo.


Céline Moinet plays an oboe by Marigaux, Paris.



Oboe Sonata

This beautiful sonata for solo oboe is one of the last oeuvres composed by Poulenc in 1962 and is often called his obituary piece, especially in the last movement entitled Déploration. French composer Poulenc dedicated the piece to the memory of fellow composer Sergei Prokofiev. The piece has three movements and can be arduous at times. The melancholic and grave nature of certain passages, especially the last movement, is difficult to play because the musician must take into consideration the emotions written in the piece as well as the technical challenges of it. 

A typical performance of the oboe sonata takes about 14 minutes and the structure of the three movements is unusual and is as follows: slow-fast-slow as opposed to the more traditional fast-slow-fast structure of a sonata. 


Francis Poulenc

Photo credit: Francis Poulenc

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