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Oboe, page 7

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The Oboe 1903-1953

The Oboe 1903-1953
ID: CC2012
CDs: 2
Type: CD
Subcollection: Oboe

The 24-page CD booklet has a 6,000 word programme note in English by the compiler Geoffrey Burgess with a description of each performer, each track, and many unusual photographs.

Introduction by compiler Geoffrey Burgess: It would be hard to claim the oboe as a main player in the rise of the phonograph in the early years of the twentieth century. In both contemporary literature and retrospective histories, oboists barely rate a mention alongside the Carusos, Melbas, Elgars and Kreislers, and the lack of a comprehensive discography or historic anthology backs this up. But why have early oboe recordings been silent for so long? It is time to discredit the popular belief that of the few recordings of oboists that have survived, most are worthless from a musical standpoint. While not featured as frequently as most other instruments, the oboe was not entirely silent in the recording studio: however, the problem lies much more in how and where to retrieve those distant echoes. Catalogues, reviews and the like cite specific recordings, but this is only a beginning. The next and harder step is to track down serviceable copies of this material which in most instances was considered of merely ephemeral value. We have to consider ourselves lucky with what has survived. Contrary to what we might think, the scarcity of oboe recordings is not a reflection of the difficulties encountered in capturing its tone. Even the earliest acoustic recordings demonstrate that, with the player projecting directly into the recording horn, the oboe sounded better than many other instruments. The reason for the scant presence of the oboe on disc has to do more with its musical and cultural persona. Just as now, the recording industry in the early decades of the twentieth century was dictated by popular taste. Not only did the Classical selections in gramophone catalogues constitute a small percentage of the total offerings, but they were dominated by operatic excerpts and rousing tunes performed by bands. In such a climate the oboe was not exactly a winner, rather it was considered a novelty, of interest to the refined connoisseur. It’s not needles, but the records themselves that need hunting down in the haystacks of archival repositaries and collectors’ attics. Artists’ names and instruments were given only rarely on the discs. Manufacturers’ catalogues can help but it is often necessary to resort to intelligent guesswork. According to the renowned audiofile Melvin Harris, it was Louis Gaudard who made the earliest oboe recording in 1899, but this claim is still to be substantiated. The oldest surviving recordings date from the first decade of the 20th century, with showy solos of ephemeral appeal usually accompanied by band, orchestra or, more rarely, piano. Despite the scant examples, we are blessed with multiple recordings of some favorites such as Une Soirée prčs du lac and standard orchestral repertoire like the overture to Guillaume Tell. These multiple versions allow direct comparison between different oboists, although it should always be borne in mind that the different settings and the recording process contributed in no small measure to the total sonic record. This anthology spans the acoustic and electric eras and all recordings are monoaural. Léon Goossens was the most widely recorded oboist of the first half of the 20th century, but otherwise, all of the oboists featured in this anthology were active before the rise of the oboe “heroes” still familiar today - André Lardrot, Pierre Pierlot, Heinz Holliger, etc. Many were celebrated in their own day, but most are now forgotten. We have intentionally avoided duplicating the already copious quantity of re-released material. Oboists like Roger Lamorlette, who can be heard playing Poulenc’s trio for oboe, bassoon and piano with the composer, have been omitted, and well known players like Goossens and Tabuteau whose work is already widely available, are represented only by noteworthy selections hitherto unavailable. There is no natural terminus ad quem for this anthology. Stylistic changes in oboe playing tended to overlap advances in recording technology in complex ways. Still, it seems appropriate to draw the line at the mid century with the dawn of the LP era with the Viennese recording of Beethoven’s variations on La ci darem (CD II track 21). Direct contact with these remarkable performances from the past is still hampered by the limitations of the available recording technology and the state of preservation of this delicate material. Most of the original recordings used here are in an exceptionally fragile state and the audio quality of many is quite simply deplorable. Any wax cylinder or shellac disc that has miraculously survived the junk yard inevitably bears the signs of abuse - damaged through overuse, poor storage conditions, or the jostle of the flea market before falling into the hands of a responsible collector. Every effort has been made to locate clean copies, but in some cases there was simply no choice. To understand these vestiges of players from the past, we have to learn to listen “through” the recording technology. Most early recordings have what today would be an unacceptable signal-to-noise ratio. The distraction of surface noise and crackles and limited frequency response and can hinder drawing conclusions on individual players’ tone. Most acoustic recordings registered a relatively narrow band of frequencies from 1000-3000Hz. With the introduction of microphones this was expanded to 200-6000Hz, but this is still far short of present standards which were set in the stereo LP era at 20Hz-20KHz. To those used to digital stereo, the monoaural configuration of early recordings may seem one-dimensional and, particularly in the case of acoustic recordings, the insensitivity of the technology to dynamics often obliterated nuance, and can also give a false sense of balance. At the same time we must listen “with” the technology. That is, we must learn to respond to what the technology could register faithfully - tempo, intonation, vibrato and questions of ensemble - always mindful that, once in the recording studio, players may have had to make adjustments from their regular practices. Up to the use of magnetic tape in the recording process in the 1940s, all recordings were “live” in the sense that virtually no editing was possible. Realizing that durations of 2 to 4 minutes (the length of a side of a disc) were recorded as complete takes makes it easier to forgive occasional slips - indeed, it should enhance our admiration for these players. It is always dangerous to draw general conclusions from limited data, so rather than viewing these recordings as documents of the essential characteristics of each oboist, it is wiser to treat them as “snapshots” of unique performances. Out-of-focus or underdeveloped due to the shortcomings of the recording apparatus, these passing glimpses are the closest we can get to the artistry of these lost musicians. Despite this material’s limitations, it’s revelations are manifold. The recordings of Georges Gillet CD I track 2) and his pupils (Gaudard, CD 1 track7; Mercier, CD I track 8; Brun, CD I track 9; Longy, CD I track 11; and Bleuzet, CD II tracks 5-8) show that prior to World War II French players did not all cultivate the bright tone typical of the younger players of the Paris Conservatoire school. We can appreciate why Tabuteau praised Bruno Labate (CD I track 16), and why Goossens could not have failed to have been impressed by Henri de Busscher’s playing (CD II tracks 13-15). The different performances of the J.C. Bach Sinfonia, Brahms’ Violin Concerto and the Beethoven Variations provide invaluable comparisons of different schools of oboe playing.
18.00 eur Temporarily out of stock

Crossing Musical Boundaries - The Sheba Sound - 2 Oboes, Bassoon and Harpsichord

Crossing Musical Boundaries - The Sheba Sound - 2 Oboes, Bassoon and Harpsichord
ID: CC2014
CDs: 2
Type: CD
Subcollection: Basson

The 24-page CD booklet has a 6,000 word programme note in English containing the interview below, plus a detailed track-by-track description, including interviews with Gordon Langford about his arrangements and David Matthews about Toccatas and Pastorals. There are many photographs.

Jeremy Polmear talks to Catherine Smith about The Sheba Sound:

The Sheba Sound was founded in 1975 by Catherine Smith, and ran for an impressive 22 years. I asked her how it came about. "I was a freelance oboist working in London, and, to be honest, I felt that life was getting a bit repetitive. I needed a challenge, I needed to break out of the orchestral rut. I love making experiments, and exploring new areas of life.

"My starting point for the new group was two oboes, bassoon and harpsichord to play trio sonatas. I approached the oboist Deirdre Lind and the bassoonist Deirdre Dundas-Grant because they had both played in the BBC Concert Orchestra, and therefore had experience in playing all kinds of music. Neil Black [a prominent London oboist] suggested I contact the harpsichordist Harold Lester, who not only played early music with Alfred Deller, but contemporary music with Cathy Berberian and the London Sinfonietta. Our horizons were limitless. The name of the group reflects this - 'Sheba', in reference to the best-known baroque piece for two oboes, 'The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba' by Handel, - and 'Sound', being the kind of name you wouldn't use in strictly classical circles. All future members of the group shared this eclectic experience of musical styles. I am particularly grateful to the first members, who made financial sacrifices until we had established ourselves.

"As I wanted the group to be unique in every respect, I decided that we would play, if possible, unpublished Baroque music, so I spent hours and hours in libraries looking for interesting scores. Harold Lester brought his extensive knowledge of early harpsichord music, and arranged some of it; and I also wanted a more jazzy arranger. Brian Kay of the King's Singers suggested Gordon Langford, who had written beautifully for them; he wrote a Folk Song Suite for us [Kaleidoscope CD, tracks 15 -19], the first of many arrangements. Our subsequent commissions were not only contemporary serious music, but also jazz and rock.

"I decided that our presentation was very important. Our dresses were glamourous, shot silk, in bright reds, and the men had cummerbunds to match. Each work was introduced by a member of the group, which was unusual at that time. We commissioned special music stands from the furniture department of the Royal College of Art, and draped the funiture on the platform in red velvet.

"We played all over the UK, in concert halls, at music clubs and festivals, and we did regular London concerts at the Wigmore Hall. One was recorded, and is the source of several tracks on these CDs. We often worked with well-known actors such as Gabriel Woolf [The Bassoon Song, Kaleidoscope CD, track 7], Derek Jacobi, Nicolas Parsons and Spike Milligan, on whose TV programmes we appeared. We did lots of Children's Concerts too, at which the greatest success was a special story, 'The Key to the Zoo', written by humourist Miles Kington, with music by Stephen Oliver. In the story we each became an animal character, with an appropriate hat.

"We toured abroad too, especially in Germany, Italy and Arabia. In Italy they preferred to have a singer with the group, and we took people such as the contralto Margaret Cable and the tenor Christopher Underwood. We also played in Holland, and on TV in Flanders. We broadcast in the UK too - on the BBC music channel Radio 3, but I was also on the talk channel Radio 4, on 'Woman's Hour'. At the time I had three children under eight as well as my career - quite a new thing back in 1975 - and this created quite a lot of interest among the listeners, who then wanted to know what our music sounded like. This led to the BBC financing a recording, many of whose tracks appear here."
18.00 eur Buy


ID: AV2300107
CDs: 3
Type: CD
Subcollection: Harpsichord

AV2100262 - J.P. Kirnberger - Sonaten für Flöte und Cembalo (Sonatas for Flute and harpsichord)
J.P. Kirnberger - Sonate in G-Dur / Allegro / Un poco adagio / Allegretto / Sonate in e-Moll / Adagio / Allegro / Menuetto con Variationi / Var. I. / Var. II. / Var. III. / Var. IV. / Var. V. / Sonate in G-Dur / Adagio / Allegro / Allegro / Sonate in g-Moll / Adagio / Allegro / Allegretto / Sonate in C-Dur / Adagio / Allegro ma non molto / Allegro
Adelheid Krause-Pichler, flute / Armin Thalheim, harpsichord

AV2100263 - Joseph Haydn: Sechs Divertimenti Flötenuhrstücke
F.J. Haydn - Divertimento G-Dur / Divertimento Es-Dur / "Der Wachtelschlag" / Divertimento D-Dur / Divertimento C-Dur / Präludium / Andante / Allegro moderato / Menuett. Allegretto / Rondo. Allegro / Divertimento F-Dur / Aria. Allegretto / Andante / Allegro / Menuett / Scherzo "Der Kaffeklatsch" / Divertimento B-Dur / Allegro / Andante / Allegro / Menuett / Allegro
A. Krause-Pichler, flute / W. Wirsing, harpsichord

AV2100265 - Antonio Vivaldi - Venezianische Kammermusik
A. Vivaldi - Trigo g-moll für Flöte, Oboe, Cembalo und Violoncello / Trio-Sonata "Follia" g-moll für Flöte, Oboe, Cembalo und Violoncello / Adagio mit 19 Variationen / Sonate B-Dur RV 34 für Oboe und Basso continuo / Trio-Sonata B-Dur RV 80 für Flöte, Oboe, Cembalo und Violoncello / Trio a-moll für Flöte, Violoncello und Cembalo
S. Chukurova, harpsichord / U. Ch. Müller, cello / A. Wenske, oboe / A. Krause-Pichler, flute
20.00 eur Temporarily out of stock

PEETER VÄHI - A CHANT OF BAMBOO - Live in Estonia Concert Hall

PEETER VÄHI - A CHANT OF BAMBOO - Live in Estonia Concert Hall
CDs: 1
Type: LP
Subcollection: Chamber Orchestra

Vinyl! Vinyl! Vinyl

Limited and numbered edition of 500 copies.
This LP has a number No. 464 and handwritten signature composer

Live recording in Estonia Concert Hall, Tallinn, March 16th, 2006

Stereo 33 1/3

A1 A Chant Of Bamboo for bamboo flute, percussion and string orchestra 18:16
A2 Forty-two for oboe and chamber orchestra 5:03
B1 The White Concerto for guitar and orchestra (I, II, III) 16:29
B2 Mystical Uniting, arrangement for flute, violin, guitar, 2 tānpūrās and strings 9:19

Performed by:
Tallinn Chamber Orchestra
Slava Grigoryan - guitar, Australia (B1, B2)
Neeme Punder - flute (B2), bamboo flute (A1)
Harry Traksmann - violin (B2)
Andres Uibo - organ (A2)
Nils Rõõmussaar - oboe (A2)
Kaido Kelder, Peeter Vähi -tanpura (B2)
Conductor Risto Joost
22.00 eur Buy

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