The oboe was a special instrument for Bruno Maderna, and he filled these three concertos (composed in 1962-3, 1967 and 1973) with solo lines in which sharply fragmented and fluently rhapsodic materials constantly interact. Heinz Holliger, in turn, pours all his unrivalled dexterity and capacity for infinitely varied expressive nuance into the performances here. Yet the music remains problematic.
Anthony Camden, for years principal oboe of the LSO, here makes a very welcome solo appearance on disc, playing with typical point and style, using his attractively reedy tone. The regular oboe concertos are well supplemented by the Suite in G minor as edited by Camden, where he is joined by the prize-winning Julia Girdwood on the second oboe. The Otho Overture too features prominent roles for oboes in duet. Ward and the City of London Sinfonia are sympathetic accompanists using modern instruments. First-rate sound from All Saints, East Finchley.
As a glance at the titles for this release indicates, this is pretty much an album of reconstructions. In his learned and usefully comprehensive booklet notes, Geoffrey Burgess describes how Bach’s concertos for harpsichord can be shown to have had other intended solo instruments, the oboe in particular, in mind. Bach wrote more solos for the oboe into his cantatas than for any other instrument, and so the lack of concertante works for the instrument argues that several may have been lost or have only survived in other guises.
"…All three works are superbly played here by the brilliantly nimble Stefan Schilli, and Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian orchestra give him vivid support. I cannot think of a more enticing triptych of modern oboe concertos from any other source." ~Grammophone
In France, where jazz enjoyed a greater influence on classical composers than perhaps anywhere else, there was a regular explosion of trumpet works during the 20th century (‘but, my dear fellow, Louis Armstrong is doing wonders in the top register. Why should this be impossible for a classical player?!’ André Jolivet).
Johann Gottlieb Graun became a member of the small court orchestra of the Prussian Crown Prince Frederick in Ruppin in 1732, which Carl Heinrich also joined in 1735. With Friedrich's ascension to the throne in 1740, Johann Gottlieb was appointed concertmaster and Carl Heinrich kapellmeister of the royal court. Johann Gottlieb remained until the end of his life closely linked to Frederick the Great, as concertmaster and chamber musician. Whilst his brother Carl Heinrich became an important figure at the new Berlin Court Opera, Johann Gottlieb strongly influenced the musical life of Berlin and early classicism in general as a violinist and composer.
This double CD compiles recordings of 20th century oboe concertos made in recent years with the RSO Frankfurt's solo oboist Fabian Menzel. The selection does not attempt to be representative of oboe composition at the end of the last century, since such a repertoire is to extensive and varied. The five pieces presented in this edition, however, are interesting and significant contributions to the genre and vary greatly in terms of their conception.