Sunday, August 29, 2010

Low-A Update - Rep List

Low-A Update - Repertoire List

I have started seriously working on Hannah Lash's piece "Silvers" for solo oboe. It's about five pages long and I have to say, I am loving working on it! It's a substantial work and she is not afraid to challenge the performer with some very quiet dynamics on some of those low A's. The solo oboe genre is a difficult one to tackle, as there are currently more jaunty, jig-like pieces than I'd care to admit...what a difference it makes when the composer writes for an instrument with respect and celebrates what it can do!

Here is an updated look at Original Works and Transcriptions for the Loboe Project:

Wolfram de Marco TBA for Solo Oboe
Paul Coleman "Coupling" for Oboe and Piano
Vera Ivanova TBA
Hannah Lash "Silvers" for Solo Oboe
Ryan Oldham TBA
David Plylar "Lobotomy" for Solo Oboe
     "The Prophecy of Dante, With Commentary By Keats" for Soprano and Mixed Ensemble
Isaac Schenkler TBA for Solo Oboe
Austin Wintory TBA for Solo Oboe

David Plylar - Trios for Oboe, Horn and Piano
     Beethoven / Liszt "Adelaide"
     Brahms "Symphony No. 3, 3rd Mvt."
     Chopin "Etude in E Minor" Op. 25, No. 5
     Saint-Saëns / Liszt "Danse Macabre"
Damjan Rakonjac  - Wind Quartet
     Chopin "Mazurka" Op. 50, No. 3

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sibelius Violin Transcriptions

The Schumann "Three Romances" are well known, and commonly performed. Every oboist, from the seventh grader to the professional, works on this piece and performs in at least one recital during their career because it is one of only a handful of quality pieces in this genre, as compared the amount of baroque works available. It is a universal piece for oboists because in terms of technique, it is accessible to most but leaves the door open for endless musical development and interpretation. 

But this post is actually not about the "Three Romances".  Sibelius offers many fantastic orchestral oboe solos but never provided solo oboe works...until now. And like the Schumann pieces, this music could be performed by both students and professionals (granted, of course, they have a Loboe...). In the more approachable category are the short works for violin and piano, Op. 78 Nos. 1-4. The first three movements are elegant yet simple. They utilize the "Low A" very well and could be easily prepared by intermediate to advanced students (as well as the pianist hired for their performance) in a few lessons. There are a few issues with the third movement, "Religios" due to some extended passages that go beyond the "Low A". However, I think it would be very interesting to experiment with the use of harmonics as a color alternative instead of simply playing the passage up the octave. How would you approach this movement, I'd be interested to hear some other ideas!

The other works are two movements from his violin show pieces, Op. 79 No. 4 and No. 5. They have moments of virtuosity but nothing that is too much of a stretch...but one must be up for a challenge!  The "Serenade" and "Tanz-Idylle" are both very short and could stand alone or as a pair. Sometimes the most impressive quality of an oboist is the perfect execution of an octave leap (check out ms. 45-46 in the Serenade!). The other movements of this set are worth a look but I found difficult to transcribe for the Loboe.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So Many Opportunities, So Few Taken!

A fascinating interview was recently played on KUSC featuring British oboist Nicholas Daniel. In addition to being an exceptional performer and renound soloist, Daniel is also kown as an extremely ambitious promoter of new works and commissions for the oboe. Obviously my hat goes off to Daniel for being such a strong advocate for new music and transcriptions (he recently performed his transcription for English horn/piano of Debussy's "Rhapsody" for saxophone and orchestra).

During the course of the interview, an interesting bit of trivia was revealed. I was stunned to learn about the many missed opportunities of oboist Leon Goossens, one of the most significant figures in the oboe's recent history. Apparently, as Daniel explained on the radio, Goossen was very well thought of by many major composers such as Stravinsky, Janacek, Sibelius and Ravel, to name a few. This knowledge was not lost on Goossens but he never once commissioned a work for the oboe or even attempted to have one written for him. Had Goossens used his status as a well-respected oboe celebrity, he could have single-handedly influenced the amount of solo repertoire choices the oboe has today. Let it never be forgotten the responsibility that every oboist carries on their shoulders!