WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

British Music For Oboe And Strings

Britten / Leighton / Shaw / Orchestral Nova / Vass
Release Date: 08/13/2013 
Label:  Guild   Catalog #: 7383   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John JoubertBenjamin BrittenKenneth LeightonCecilia McDowall,   ... 
Performer:  Jinny Shaw
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $22.98
CD:  $18.99
In Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BRITISH MUSIC FOR OBOE AND STRINGS Jinny Shaw (ob); 1 George Vass, cond; 2 Orchestra Nova; Sarah Trickey (vn); 3 Sarah-Jane Bradley (va); 4 Bozidar Yukovic (vc) GUILD 7383 (77:24)

JOUBERT 1 Read more class="ARIAL12b">Concerto for Oboe and Strings. BRITTEN 2,3,4 Phantasy for Oboe, Violin, Viola, and Cello. LEIGHTON 1 Concerto for Oboe and Strings. C. McDOWELL 2,3,4 The Gentle Dove for Oboe, Violin, Viola, and Cello. McCABE 1 Concerto for Oboe and Orchestra

Every now and then, the Swiss producers at the Guild label take a break from their own native composers (as well as their immensely satisfying and long-running series of Light Music gems) to pay homage to British music, and this collection of works for oboe and ensemble is an outstanding chapter in this effort. Containing first recordings of oboe concertos by two of today’s most notable and productive Englishmen (John Joubert, born 1927, and John McCabe, born 1939), this release will be an essential component of any oboephile’s collection.

Born in South Africa but emigrating to the mother country in his early 20s, Joubert has amassed over the past half-century a most substantial and impressive catalog of works in all genres, especially chamber music (all four of his string quartets are now recorded—three of them on a recent Somm release). The two symphonies, plus an early Sinfonietta, are also available on Lyrita, with an alternative Second now recently issued by Dutton Epoch. Awaiting premiere recordings are a new and magnificent Cello Concerto, written for Raphael Wallfisch; there is also an earlier Piano Concerto, as well as an overwhelming choral symphony (his Third) setting of Yeats’s “Gong-tormented sea,” together with a wealth of additional choral and chamber music.

Joubert’s Oboe Concerto, like all of his output, is a deeply serious and carefully-pondered statement with emphatic personal overtones. Premiered in 2007, its first two movements are quick, jagged, and agitated, while the slow variation-form Finale—equal in length to the first two combined—casts a redemptive light over the anxieties and uncertainties of the first half. It takes considerable courage for a composer to end a work in this more contemplative and less crowd-pleasing manner, though this listener has experimented with a more conventional realignment of the movements and finds the music just as effective in this form. In any case, this is a major contribution to the oboe repertoire.

The prolific John McCabe wrote his insistently dramatic Oboe Concerto back in 1994, during a transitional period when his earlier, tensely chromatic, even semi-serial idiom was beginning to unbend somewhat and admit more tonal and nature-derived elements. The Concerto’s single-movement span is dominated and to a large extent determined by a fascinating single-note birdcall-like idea, as the soloist continually interacts in questingly quizzical ways with other instruments, particularly the harp and timpani. The result is very idiosyncratic and quite unlike any other work of its kind in the British repertoire.

The 1953 Leighton Concerto, never performed in his lifetime (1929–1988) but once available on a now-deleted ASV collection of relatively light works for the instrument, is, except for a sprightly Finale, a dark and dour product of his early 20s as a pupil of Petrassi in Italy. There is nothing even remotely “English” about the music, which reflects strongly Bartókian ambiance but still lacks the motoric urgency and drive of Leighton’s mature style. Nonetheless, it is good to have this deeply felt if discursive work back in the active recorded catalog.

This program also includes two chamber pieces: Britten’s brilliant Phantasy for oboe and string trio of 1931, a superb product of his astonishing teens, together with a pleasant if innocuous sliver of English pastoralism, The Gentle Dove, also for the same combination as the Britten, by a relatively younger Englishwoman, Cecilia MacDowell (b. 1951), whose work is otherwise unknown to this listener.

The celebrated oboist Jinny Shaw, who is noted for her devotion to a rather more advanced brand of English modernism, plays all this music as the kind of well-established progeny of the oboe repertoire which we expect the Joubert, McCabe, and Leighton will one day be and, of course, the Britten already is. Conductor George Voss provides his customarily disciplined and sympathetic support. No lover of English music can afford to pass up this superlatively produced and recorded release. Bravo!

FANFARE: Paul A. Snook
Read less

Works on This Recording

Concerto for Oboe by John Joubert
Performer:  Jinny Shaw (Oboe)
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova
Phantasy for Oboe and String Trio, Op. 2 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Jinny Shaw (Oboe)
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; England 
Concerto for Oboe, Op. 23 by Kenneth Leighton
Performer:  Jinny Shaw (Oboe)
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Y Deryn Pur "The Gentle Dove" by Cecilia McDowall
Performer:  Jinny Shaw (Oboe)
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova
Concerto for Oboe by John McCabe
Performer:  Jinny Shaw (Oboe)
Conductor:  George Vass
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra Nova

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook

Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Already a subscriber? Sign In