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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



OBOE ON THE ROAD
Miguel del AGUILA (b 1957) Sommergesang (1988)
Robert SIBBING (b 1929) Ballad, Blues & Rag
David GOMPPER (b 1954) Anon (1984)
Walter PISTON (1894-1976) Suite (1931)
Michael ANGELL (b 1964) Noon Song (1985)
Arnold ROSNER (b 1945) Oboe Sonata (1972)
Mark Weiger (oboe); Robert Conway (piano)
rec July 1998, Cornell College, Mt Vernon, Iowa DDD
CENTAUR CRC 2451 [58.31]


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The Sommergesang of Uruguay-born and US-domiciled Aguila fooled me at first into expecting 13 minutes of pastoral musing nodding to Rhapsody in Blue and Alan Hovhaness. I also jumped to the conclusion that here was a vehicle for lyrical oboe display. While there are some elements of truth in these way-markers the piano plays a far from subsidiary role and the mood floats from idyll to violence. The notes speak of Aguila's concern with the sometimes devastating displays of mother nature. In the Sibbing piece you get what the titles suggest: a sloe-eyed jazzy swerve of a Ballad, a languid Blues and a tumbling Rag. Malcolm Arnold devotees with a Joplin sweet tooth need look no further. Gompper's Anon is grittier stuff employing some dissonance especially in the piano part. Angell, founder of the Birmingham Art Music Alliance penned the lisping gentleness of Noon Song.

Arnold Rosner is always the singer and his Sonata (also available in a version for violin and piano) is no exception. Grace and flow, the nodding Elizabethan dialogue, the sinewy linkage with a tragic undertow. Tragedy and Fury are to the fore in the Adagio. The emotional punch of this music is positively symphonic. The finale and the first movement are comparable with Rubbra's chamber music although in the last pages there is a remarkable level of something approaching aggression and brutality.

The Piston Suite encloses three shadow-obsessed, slow, joy-occluded reflections of considerable emotional moment caught between two gibbering and darting 'bookends': a Prelude and a Gigue. Piston at this stage in his artistic curve has not lost connection with feelings.

Rob Barnett


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