Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Inspired It All

As a Chicago native, I was fortunate enough to have grown up during Alex Klein’s time as principal oboist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It was an incredible source of inspiration for me. He took the oboe world by storm not only with his beautiful sound, but sense of adventurous programming. My first exposure to Luciano Berio’s “Sequenza VII” was during a recital performance Klein gave in the late 1990s, and it was performed from memory in total darkness, as if this amazing piece wasn’t difficult enough!

It was his collaboration with the Lorée factory that resulted in the extended-range oboe in the first place, as he wanted to record a cd of works by Franz Schubert. The music is not possible with the existing range on the oboe, so thus the “low-A” model was born. I fell in love with this recording, especially the “Sonata in A Minor” for Arpeggione and Piano, D. 821. While normally heard performed as a transcription for cello or viola instead of the intended arpeggione (basically a bowed guitar), hearing it played so effortlessly on a treble instrument was eye-opening. This recording was released in 2001 and is is still available.

In an attempt to expand the oboe’s literature, here is a chamber music update:

Chamber works currently being transcribed
that utilize the “low-A” and/or highest range:

*All works transcribed and available from David Plylar

*For oboe, horn and piano (with optional regular oboe part where low-A is used)

*All works to be premiered by Out of Context in Los Angeles in 2010

Beethoven/Liszt – “Adelaide"
Brahms - "Poco Allegretto" - Symphony No. 3, 3rd Movement
Chopin - Étude Op. 25, No. 5” in E Minor - Wrong Note Etude
Saint-Saëns/Liszt – “Dance Macabre”

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Oboe Has Arrived!

The oboe arrived this week. After so much anticipation, I was thrilled and relieved to finally hear it, especially playing chromatically down to that low "A"!

Close up of low-A thumb key on top joint

Researching this instrument, I heard many stories about how heavy it was and all of the problems this caused oboists. Happily for me, the slight increase in weight is hardly noticeable.
Something that was apparent immediately was the full, dark tone. The break-in limit of only ten minutes at any given time is simply not enough!

Comparison of a standard Loree Royal and the extended range Royal

A quick shout out to Carlos Coelho for all of his assistance and expertise in helping me to receive this oboe so quickly, and for his many years of excellent Loree oboe service!